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.
Last week in Brussels I presented the EPO’s annual results for 2014 at a well-attended conference with many journalists. For the fifth year in a row our growth continued for patent filings (+3.1% and almost 275 000 filings in 2014), representing a new record and confirming a positive trend (+10 000 patent filings each year […]
Last year was a milestone for the EPO’s Quality Management System (QMS). It was the culmination of several years of work in a variety of areas – implementing and refining measurements, establishing operational quality controls, documenting procedures and internal auditing of the QMS process. We crowned these efforts at the end of 2014 with the […]
I first met Artur Fischer during the European Inventor Award ceremony in Berlin in June 2014 when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. I was most impressed by this extraordinary character – the 95-year-old doyen of inventors, the “man of 1000 patents”, as the German press reverentially refer to him. He invited me to visit his […]
This week we witnessed an historic “first” from the perspective of the European Patent Organisation: the validation agreement with Morocco. Indeed the EPO, starting with 7 member states in 1977, now boasts 38 countries representing a market of 600 million inhabitants. Two other European states, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, have the status of “extension states”: the […]
This week we published our preliminary filing figures for 2014. Although the precise numbers are still being worked on, indications are that we saw over 270 00 filings last year, an increase of approximately 3%. This is in line with the trend observed over the last four years with annual increases between 2% and 4%. […]
As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back on the achievements of the last twelve months. First, 2014 can be regarded as a very successful year for the EPO, as in many areas we reached our best ever performances. In terms of filings, we expect a 3% – 3.5% increase […]
This week, on behalf of the EPO, I was very pleased to receive the ISO 9001 certificate for our entire patent granting process covering: search and examination; opposition; limitation and revocation. The EPO is the first among the big patent offices to have achieved this internationally recognised standard for its quality management system. Quality is […]
Anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on the past, to review achievements and to imagine future improvements. In this regard, I think it is fair to say that the celebrations at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, in Alicante last week, illustrated their impressive results in only two decades. OHIM’s geographical coverage […]
It comes as a surprise to some that the relationship between the EPO and the Patent Office of China (SIPO) started decades ago. Ever since Deng Xiaoping began to open up China and its economy at the end of the 1970s, numerous initiatives have been taken by the Chinese authorities. One of them was to […]