International co-operation

Progress in the harmonisation of the patent system


Last week in Trieste, Italy, I attended two meetings involving patent offices and industry from three regions (Europe, the US and Japan), dedicated to the harmonisation of rules, procedures and practices of the patent system. The first meeting was a further session of the so-called Tegernsee group, composed of heads of Office and experts from […]

Patents and standards: a challenging task for patent offices


On 25 March 2014, a comprehensive study titled ‚ÄúPatents and Standards: A modern framework for IPR-based standardization‚ÄĚ was published by a policy consortium known as ECSIP, working for the EU Commission DG Enterprise and Industry. Over the past decade, the relationship between standards and patents has become a subject of lively public debate, particularly in […]

Forging closer ties with our Asian partners


Last week, in Tokyo, I had the pleasure to address Japanese IP specialists from industry at the annual meeting of the Japan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA), which brought together hundreds of JIPA members from all over the country. The EPO enjoys a long-standing relationship with Japanese firms, who have been major users of the European […]

Mexico joins the race for innovation


My official visit to Mexico last week was a valuable opportunity to meet the national authorities and patent system users, and also to assess the scope for reinforcing the long-standing cooperation between the EPO and the Mexican IP office (IMPI). The timing was particularly appropriate, as Mexico is currently working to implement an ambitious national […]

IP valuation: a building block for success


Over the past decade, the valuation and monetisation of intellectual property have become ever more important. In the past, the approach to these matters was mainly defensive, when liquidity problems led companies to look for things they could readily sell, including immaterial assets. Latterly, however, the management of patent portfolios has become increasingly dynamic, with […]

2013 at the EPO: sustaining growth and progress


The EPO filing figures for 2013 were published last week. Although they remain preliminary – largely because of the 2013 PCT applications which have yet to reach us -, the main trends are clearly apparent. First, for the fourth year in a row, the filings total increased (+2.8%), reaching yet another peak (265 000). However, […]

The EPO and SIPO reinforce their cooperation


The cooperation between the EPO and the patent office of China (SIPO) dates back almost 30 years, to the signing of the first cooperation agreement in 1985. The bilateral Heads meeting held last week in Beijing was a further example of the longstanding and excellent relations between our two Offices. Reviewing our recent cooperation activities, […]

Concrete benefits from IP5 cooperation


The EPO has long seen the need to respond to the globalisation of the patent process, reflected in the ever-increasing proportion of patents filed in multiple offices and in the growing geographical diversity of prior art. The IP5 has addressed these issues by developing systems that allow examiners to benefit from the regional and linguistic […]

Raising IP awareness among EU policy-makers


Last week, in Brussels, the EPO and OHIM held a joint seminar on the essentials of IP for EU officials. I was delighted to see that this event attracted some 130 participants, from the EU institutions, national governments and IP offices, indicating the strong awareness within the European policy-making community of the crucial role of […]

International harmonisation in progress


For many years, industry has been calling for international harmonisation of the patent system – an understandable demand that has been further amplified by the accelerating pace of globalisation. Harmonisation can take various forms, focusing on substantive law and/or technical cooperation, and can be discussed in bilateral or multilateral frameworks. Whatever the approach may be, […]