International co-operation

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, […]

Universities, innovation and patents


The tasks of a patent office include the dissemination of patent information as well as the examination of patent applications. To me, the former is just as important as the latter. The EPO puts particular emphasis on this aspect of its mission and has devoted considerable human and technical resources to facilitating public access to […]

PATLIB centres – patent information takes centre stage


Last week in Munich, we had the pleasure of holding the Patent Library (PATLIB) seminar. This event, first held in 1990, brings together a large number of patent information centres which form a pan-European network. The PATLIB centres are perhaps less well known than they should be, considering the pivotal role they play in disseminating […]

Language matters


Last week, in Paris, I put my signature to a Memorandum of Understanding between the EPO and the Institut fran├žais on the subject of French language training. Similar agreements for English and German, the EPO’s other two official languages, were signed in March with the British Council and the Goethe Institute. They represent a further […]

Moving ahead with the unitary patent: the Select Committee holds its first meeting


After the adoption of the EU regulations on the unitary patent in December 2012 and the recent signing of the international agreement on the Unified Patent Court, a further milestone was reached last week with the convening of the so-called Select Committee. Representatives of the 25 member states participating in the unitary patent met with […]

Breakthrough for a Unified Patent Court in Europe


Yesterday in Brussels, a historic moment arrived with the signing by 24 EU member states of the international Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC). This completes the unitary patent package, following the recent entry into force of the two Regulations adopted in December last year. After more than 40 years of fruitless attempts to […]

PCT Authorities committed to enhancing quality


Last week, the EPO had the pleasure of hosting the 20th session of the PCT Meeting of International Authorities (MIA) in Munich. 2013 is a significant year, with the 35th anniversary of the first ever PCT filing and the 40th anniversary of the signing, in 1973, of the European Patent Convention. There have always been […]

Au revoir, David


Last week, David Kappos took his leave from the US Patent and Trademark Office, after serving as its Director since August 2009. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him very warmly on his outstanding achievements. In less than four years, David carried out a major programme of change at the USPTO, leading […]

The Cooperative Patent Classification – a decisive step forward in patent harmonisation


This is my first blog post in 2013, so let me start by wishing you all the very best for the new year. 2012 ended with the historic decisions of the EU on the unitary patent package. For the EPO, 2013 will be marked in particular by the 40th anniversary of the signing of the […]

A big step forward for Patent Translate


In Brussels last week, I had the pleasure of launching – with the head of the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO), Commissioner Tian Lipu – the English-Chinese language pair for our Patent Translate service. Thanks to the very close and efficient co-operation between SIPO and the EPO, this new service has come into being just one […]