23 September 2014 - No comments »
The World Intellectual Property Congress of the AIPPI is a unique opportunity to meet IP professionals, users from industry and private practice from all over the world. Nearly 1,500 participants attended the last session in Toronto (Canada) where I had the pleasure to present the most recent developments at the EPO, focusing on our new tools, services and projects which aim at making their life easier and improving the quality of our services. Building on the success of previous editions, the AIPPI has decided to increase the frequency of its World IP Congresses (every year as from 2015 onwards), which is a good sign of the dynamism of this association which is one of the oldest – if not the oldest – having started its activities in 1897. The EPO and the AIPPI have reinforced their ties and agreed three years ago to hold a yearly President and Board’s level meeting in order to regularly update each other about our projects and issues.
One of the main purposes of the AIPPI gatherings is to favour the common understanding of IP issues and the approximation of national legal frameworks and practices. Substantive Patent Law Harmonisation was high on the agenda of topics discussed during last week’s session. Different representatives of the patent offices participating to the Tegernsee process reported about the results recently achieved by their experts. Now that there is a broader understanding of the different types of grace period systems, of the importance of 18 month publication or of prior user rights, to name some of these issues, it is up to policy-makers to take the results on board and to resume discussions. I hope the forthcoming meeting of the B+ Group in Geneva will help to support the process.
During numerous informal contacts with the users, I again received many expressions of interest about the coming implementation of the Unitary Patent, and several underlying questions in particular regarding the level of fees. I confirmed the steady progresses made by the Select Committee in charge of the implementation of the UPP on many aspects over the last year. As far as the level of fees is concerned, I understand that early clarification would help the economic actors to fine tune their budgetary projections. However we have still some time to determine the fees as the Unified Patent Court will certainly not start its operations before 2016, and I think it is preferable to thoroughly discuss all the remaining issues in order to reach the widest consensus. I am confident we will find a business friendly solution well in advance, for example by mid-2015.
This AIPPI session was again rich in information and exchanges. I take this opportunity to warmly thank the outgoing AIPPI President, M. John Bochnovic, for his kind invitation to address the AIPPI Congress and our excellent relationships developed during his mandate; and I wish all the best to their newly elected President, M. Felipe Claro.