The EPO

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 […]

Our users on board


Last week, in Munich and Berlin, I had the opportunity to meet three major different user associations: the executive committee of FICPI (the international federation of IP attorneys), the GRUR (the oldest and largest grouping of German IP experts) and the BDI (the umbrella organisation for German industry). It is always a real pleasure for […]

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 […]

A year on


I took up my duties as President of the EPO on 1 July 2010 and the time seems to have flown since then. Not surprisingly, I suppose: it was quite a busy twelve months. A lot of ground was prepared, major projects like the IT roadmap were launched, and important decisions were taken. One of […]

Staff survey 2011


I have always regarded the EPO as a European success story. Starting with just 7 member states, the Organisation now has 38, with a total of 600 million inhabitants. The Office is processing more than 230 000 patent applications a year (the original long-term estimate was 30 000), and the high quality of its work […]

A comprehensive IP strategy for Europe


On Monday 30 May 2011, the European Competitiveness Council discussed the Unitary Patent Protection project and the outcome represents one more positive step with the final adoption of the two regulations in sight. I am also very pleased that the European Commission has already launched a non-paper about a possible solution for the litigation system, […]

EPO a global player


This week, I had the opportunity to present the EPO’s 2010 statistics to the European and international press. Analysing the figures, two key messages emerge. Firstly, with incoming filings 11 % up on 2009, we have recovered well from last year’s downturn and even exceeded the previous peak (in 2008). For patents at least, the […]