05 December 2012
Last week, in Munich, I had the opportunity to meet members of the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation. My discussions with the Board members reminded me just how important the work of our Academy is. Nowadays, with the information society extending into every aspect of our lives, IP is headline news, rather than a matter for academic discussion. But uncertainty often remains about what IP really involves and how it affects us. Raising public awareness about the potential of intangible assets, making sure that everyone likely to come into contact with IP has access to the necessary information and training – these are the main goals of our patent Academy.
Since 2004, when its activities began, the Academy has become a widely appreciated element in the European Patent Network, working in close cooperation with the main stakeholders of our Organisation, especially national patent offices and – representing the patent profession – the epi, but also with similar institutions such as the WIPO and OHIM academies. New working methods and tools developed at the EPO are often shared with the national IP offices of our member states, and by providing appropriate training, the EPO can help to maximise the benefit to these users.
In recent years, many general developments in the European patent system have also been accompanied by extensive Academy training programmes. For example, the introduction of the EPC 2000 and the “Raising the Bar” exercise have been facilitated by suitable training courses for patent professionals, organised in collaboration with other interested institutions.
At its meeting last week, the Supervisory Board acknowledged the excellent results of the Academy’s work in 2012 and endorsed its ambitious programme of activities for 2013. The wide availability of our training programmes using eLearning tools helps to increase the audience across all the 38 member states of our Organisation.
Training and qualification for professionals, in the public and private sector, is the best way to improve the overall quality of the European patent system.