US, Japanese and European patent offices take stock of 30 years of cooperation

In Kyoto last week, the Trilateral Offices (JPO, USPTO and EPO) celebrated the 30th anniversary of their cooperation. This was an occasion to review some of the projects completed since the Trilateral’s inception. The EPO and the USPTO also took the opportunity to update on the Cooperative Patent Classification, which will enter into force on […]

Patent Translate doubles its offering

Last Thursday, the EPO released the second batch of languages automatically translated from and into English via the Patent Translate service on our Espacenet website. The new languages are: Danish, Dutch, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian and Polish. This means that half of the 28 European languages included in the programme are now available, with full […]

Listening to our users

In recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet two important delegations of users, one from Japan – with JETRO acting as a co-organiser – and the other from the American Bar Association. US and Japanese users account for a large proportion of filings at the EPO (44% of the total in 2011), so […]

The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU

The decision to bestow the Nobel Prize on the EU was certainly unexpected. But the honour is fully deserved. The award powerfully underlines the essential message of European unity, aside from the usual stories of economic woes, bureaucracy, regulatory nitpicking and incomprehensible decision-making processes. After centuries of conflict, after two world wars and the worst […]

High-level gathering of European patent judges in Dublin

Last week in Dublin, from 4 to 7 September, the mood was celebratory, with a double anniversary. Dublin Castle was the venue for the 16th European Patent Judges’ Symposium, exactly 30 years after the first of these events, in 1982, and 20 years after Ireland’s accession to the European Patent Convention, which took effect on […]

Breakthrough for the unitary patent

Like many of you, I was especially pleased at the outcome of last week’s European Council regarding the proposed European patent court. Agreement was finally reached, at the highest level of European government, on the seat of the court’s Central Division, the issue which had been blocking the entire unitary patent package since the end […]

ESAB – the EPO sets up a new economic and scientific tool

Last week, I had the pleasure of taking part in the first meeting of the EPO’s Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB). This new body is made up of eleven men and women, each from a different country (Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Turkey, UK and USA). They have diverse professional backgrounds […]

Another peak year for European patent filings

On Tuesday, we published our preliminary figures for patent filings received in 2011. They reached a new peak of 243 000, up 3% on the 2010 figure (235 000), which was itself a record but boosted in part by the one-off surge in divisional applications. One might have expected the financial and economic crisis in […]

The unitary patent and the European Patent Court – negotiations nearly complete?

Will we get a decision this year? On 5 December, the EU Competitiveness Council discussed the unitary patent and European Patent Court package. Although no final decision was taken, well-informed sources say that agreement is not far off. The Polish EU presidency is doing its best to achieve it by the end of the year, […]

Patents and biotechnology – latest developments

In no other area are patentability issues so controversial as in biotechnology. That might appear surprising; after all, the R&D work done in this field can pave the way for new therapies with enormous medical and commercial potential, so encouraging it through patents might seem only logical. But patents are also ownership rights, which some […]