Access to Asian prior art

Following on from the first agreement on our machine translation programme, reached in November 2011 with the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO), this week in Tokyo I was very pleased to be able to sign a similar agreement with another major Asian office, the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Japan and Japanese users have always played an […]

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 […]

2012 – towards a stronger Europe

First of all, let me wish you all a Happy New Year! This is traditionally the time to review the achievements of the old year, and to look ahead – with good resolutions! – to the challenges of the new one. As I said in my last blogpost, 2011 was a busy and positive year […]

2011 – a good year for the EPO

As the year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to review our main achievements. The EPO did well in 2011, despite Europe’s economic difficulties. We now reckon with almost 250 000 filings, beating last year’s record of 235 000 – which however was due partly to a one-off surge in […]

European Patent Academy – developing a patent culture in Europe

Last week, I had the pleasure to attend the 12th meeting of the EPO Academy’s Supervisory Board, made up of representatives of the EPO member states, partners such as the EU Commission and the WIPO and (soon) OHIM academies, and patent professionals from the European Patent Institute (epi) and BusinessEurope. This institution is particularly dear […]

Peter Messerli – 15 years serving the European patent system

Last Tuesday, the EPO held a ceremony to bid farewell to Peter Messerli, its vice-president in charge of the boards of appeal (“VP3”), who is retiring at the end of this month. During three 5-year terms from 1996 onwards, Peter has been instrumental in establishing the boards’ excellent reputation worldwide. The award for outstanding achievement […]

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 […]

Improving the dissemination of patent information

I have just had the pleasure of opening the EPO Patent Information Conference 2011 which is taking place in Kilkenny (Ireland) from 18 to 20 October. Kilkenny occupies a special position in EPO history, as the place where our logo was designed. This conference devoted to one of the EPO’s two main tasks – the […]

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 […]