Patents

Commissioner Barnier in Munich


Last week, I was delighted to welcome to the EPO an EU delegation led by Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and including two Members of the European Parliament, Cecilia Wikström (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and Eva Lichtenberger (Green Party). The main purpose of this first official visit […]

Geneva rendezvous


WIPO’s annual general assemblies are a unique opportunity for the worldwide intellectual-property community to come together, with patent issues just one course on a very appetising menu. This year’s began with the opening of the new WIPO building. The ceremony included a wonderful performance from Barbara Hendricks, who also took the opportunity to highlight the […]

US moves forward … Europe’s turn next?


On 8 September 2011, the US Senate passed a patent reform bill known as the America Invents Act. It makes some of the biggest changes to US patent law seen in the last 60 years; for one thing, it enshrines the switch from “first-to-invent” to “first-to-file”. The bill should be signed into law by President […]

Patent activities over the summer break


The summer break is traditionally a quiet period for industry and for patents as well, with August usually the month which produces the lowest number of patent filings. However, this summer has seen an unusually high incidence of patent-related activities, including the selling of a mega-portfolio of patents and the launch of major international legal […]

EU patent issues – expectations high but reasonable


In mid-summer, it is always a good idea to look ahead at what the calendar holds in store. September is invariably a busy month, culminating each year in the regular trip to Geneva for the WIPO Assemblies’ packed agenda. For Europe, the EU’s patent-related projects have featured prominently for many years now – too many, […]

Patents as intangible assets


The core tasks of the EPO – like any other patent office – are to examine the legal validity of patent applications and to disseminate patent information. The potential economic value of an invention plays no part in our assessment of an application’s compliance with the patentability criteria, and I attach great importance to our […]

The road to patent law harmonisation


On 5 and 6 July, a group of European delegates (from Denmark, France, Germany, the UK and the EPO) gathered in Tegernsee (Germany) at the EPO’s invitation for an informal meeting with the heads of the US and Japanese Patent Offices to explore possible ways of moving towards international patent law harmonisation. Some of you […]

Transatlantic patent reform


Major decisions on patent system reform have very recently been taken on both sides of the Atlantic. Last week, the US House of Representatives passed a bill envisaging a move from a first-to-invent to a first-inventor-to-file system which would be the most significant change in US patent law since 1952. Indeed, this reform would bring […]

Patents and standards can work together


At first sight, patents and standards may seem contradictory. Certainly, when defining a standard to be used by all the players in a particular market, it is indeed vital to know what is patented and what is not. However, sometimes different companies file large numbers of patents around the same technology. This may call for […]

Another step towards an enhanced European IP environment


Yesterday, I had the pleasure to be in Alicante to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). Some may question whether such an agreement between the EPO and OHIM is really needed; they may feel that the principles and procedures governing patents are too different […]