23 April 2015 - No comments »
Last week the members of FICPI – Fédération Internationale des Conseils en Propriété Intellectuel, gathered in the stunning city of Cape Town, South Africa, for their World Congress, under the motto “Adapt to Advance”.
FICPI has nowadays around 5000 members in more than 80 countries and regions, all of them qualified and experienced IP professionals whose clients span all types and sizes of industrial corporations, multi-national companies, small and medium sized enterprises, research centres and individual inventors.
I had the honour to be invited to participate in this high level event, to share with 400 participants the initiatives of the EPO and our IP5 partners addressing the challenges of the increasingly complex and demanding Global IP System. It was truly rewarding to see the level of interest shown by participants and, most of all, the positive feed-back we have received concerning the EPO´s high level of performance in 2014 and the accomplishments of our Quality and Efficiency strategy. A very lively debate followed my presentation, where users highlighted some of these results like, for instance, the Validation Agreement recently signed with Morocco, with the audience emphasizing the importance of such agreements for the users of the Global IP System and encouraging the EPO to further pursue this path with other countries.
I am truly convinced that the EPO´s participation in events like FICPI World Congress stand as a unique opportunity to meet our global users and hear their experienced voice concerning the pressing issues and challenges that affect the patent system. Being a global office, with 65% of our filings originating from outside Europe, we have no other option rather than to think, speak, listen and act global.
At the EPO, we are very pleased to have the users as part of our institutional framework, being represented in our official bodies and participating in the decision making process. The latest most significant example is our current broad consultation with users from all around the world about the level of the renewal fees for the future unitary patent. We are also particularly proud of the results we have achieved in the past years in our efforts to increase users’ participation and representativeness in the most relevant global IP Offices fora, such as the IP5. Users can and should have an important role in supporting the IP Offices identifying the most pressing targets for increased harmonisation and efficiency within the global patent system.