EPO EPA Europäisches Patentamt European Patent Office

Brazil and Europe intensify co operation on patents

Within the group of BRICS countries, Brazil offers both a dynamic economy and attractive new market opportunities. Positive developments are also apparent in intellectual property, where national patent filings have almost doubled over the last five years and now stand at over 30 000 annually. They also have a broad international base: European companies – […]

EPO-OECD partnership to support public debate on patents

Let’s face it: patent offices have not been in the habit of taking the public stage. They have developed over the years as essentially technical organisations whose highly qualified examiners have the expertise and skills needed to vet patent applications. One very important requirement for any patent office is neutrality: it must examine patent applications […]

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 […]

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 […]

Fostering patent co-operation in Europe

The European patent system is a two-tier environment in which the European Patent Office is the single central authority empowered to grant patents for all our 38 member states whilst the national patent offices play an essential role in developing IP policies at local level. This complementarity between regional and local levels is not specific […]

Honouring creative and inventive minds

This week, in Budapest, our sixth successive annual European Inventor Award will be presented in recognition of 15 outstanding inventions nominated in five categories (“Industry”, “SMEs”, “Research”, “Non-European countries” and “Lifetime achievement”) and in honour of the individuals and teams behind them. On Thursday, it will be my very great pleasure to congratulate the five […]

Improving the patent system

The patent system is sometimes portrayed as a monopoly-granting machine which is both expensive and difficult to use. That is hardly a balanced view, of course, but I do acknowledge that we must keep working hard to improve access to patent information and to make the system more affordable, especially for European innovators and SMEs. […]

Lessons from Japan

For the last few days, all our thoughts have been with the Japanese people afflicted by a series of dreadful catastrophes. As the crisis has unfolded, I have been deeply moved by their courage and dignity in these tragic circumstances. EPO staff too have shown heartfelt sympathy for their plight. Over the years, the Japanese […]

Unitary Patent on track!

This week, the two long awaited EU projects related to the Unitary Patent and the European Patent Court were in the spotlight as a decision and an opinion from two EU institutions were announced. It is also worth noting that the very same week, the US Senate has largely voted in favour of a major […]