16 December 2016 - No comments »
Last week the European Patent Office hosted the fourth Indo-European Conference on Patents and ICT at its headquarters in Munich. It is an event which has been held on an alternating basis in India and in Europe since 2013, in conjunction with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) of the Government of India. Through a careful examination of contemporary issues in ICT, it aims to help develop a sustainable IP system in a field which is considered by many to be one of the most dynamic areas of innovation today.
The conference has become a unique reference for innovators and IP professionals from Europe and India interested in ICT-related IP developments in both jurisdictions. This year’s event focused on Industry 4.0, a timely topic with potentially great impact on our respective patent systems. Over two hundred participants from all over Europe and India were present to exchange information and views on the latest developments. They included high level attendees such as Dr Debashis Dutta, Group Coordinator of MeitY and representatives from the national patent offices, user associations in both regions and the European Commission. Major Indian and European enterprises such as Tata, Philips, Bosch, Siemens, Ericsson and Audi, to name a few, were also in attendance. Both Industry and policy-makers were therefore present to share their perspectives on the exchange of best practices in patents and standards, computer-implemented inventions and patent examination in the emerging technologies of Industry 4.0, among many more.
It is important for the EPO to hold such events in conjunction with MeitY. India is a country with a rapidly expanding innovation sector. In the last six years we have already witnessed a rise in patent applications from India to the EPO of 78% and its influence on the patent system is set to grow further in the future. By working together in organising these conferences, we provide a valuable platform for raising mutual awareness and understanding both among policy-makers and the user community in both jurisdictions. In addition, we help to stimulate innovation in both regions, to capture growth opportunities in the global ICT market and to leverage the full potential of the IP system. MeitY have proven to be committed partners in achieving these specific aims, having already provided technical assistance to India’s ICT sector in various areas, including prior art search and IPR facilitation.
That co-operation is also yielding good results more broadly. A nation-wide network of master trainers in India, knowledgeable in the European patent system and the use of EPO patent information tools, has been established. A virtual EPO-India helpdesk for innovators from both regions is in the process of being created as well. More specifically, the latest data shows that there is also an increased awareness among Indian stakeholders of the EPO and its products and services, including its patent information tools such as Espacenet.
But if we are to deliver further opportunities for users in both regions, useful and novel initiatives need to be developed. The EPO and MeitY were therefore delighted to announce at the seminar the launch of an Indo-European IPR Collaboration Portal in the coming weeks. This much awaited and requested co-operation initiative will support innovators by offering a central gateway to all patent-related information and services in both jurisdictions. The project will be implemented in co-operation with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and the European Business and Technology Centre in Delhi, which supports European businesses in India. Specifically, the portal will provide linked access to the main service providers in Europe and India and will facilitate the registration, protection, and commercialisation of IPRs.
The conference and portal build further upon two consecutive Work Plans on Bilateral Co-operation between the EPO and MEITY – the first having been signed in April 2013 and the second in November 2015. This constructive partnership that we have developed over recent years has become a cornerstone of the EPO’s relations with India. We now look forward to its continuing development with MeitY and indeed all our other partners, in particular the Intellectual Property Office of India, so that the EPO’s users and inventors all around the world can benefit from our ongoing co-operation initiatives.