EPO-SIPO cooperation: Recent milestones and future hopes

01 December 2015

EPO President Benoît BattistelliAs those of you following developments at the EPO will be aware, 2015 is a very special year for our Office and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). It is the thirtieth anniversary of bilateral cooperation between our organisations. In Europe, we marked this occasion with a successful special event in Lyon. Last week, we were honoured to continue those celebrations with our colleagues in Beijing and to continue to raise awareness in China of our strategic achievements.

The great interest generated in the media and among IP stakeholders confirmed that EPO-SIPO relations have brought meaningful benefits to users of the international patent system. It is little surprise: over three decades of hard work – driven by the vision of our predecessors in both offices – have delivered huge gains. Thanks to the efforts of the EPO and SIPO, Chinese and European innovators alike can more easily access patent protection in each other’s respective markets that together represent almost 2 billion consumers.

It was therefore a great honour to be received by State Councillor, Mr Wang Yong. The meeting was a pivotal point in the EPO‘s relations with the Chinese authorities and acknowledged the thirty years of efforts made by those at the EPO in supporting SIPO’s rise to become one of the leading patent offices in the world.

During my visit to Beijing, a packed agenda indicated the increasing interest in patents and intellectual property among all stakeholders – including the IP professionals of tomorrow. My tour included a visit to Renmin University where I was able to talk to students of intellectual property about the latest developments. I was also able to present the major achievements in our cooperation, such as our work on Cooperative Patent Classification, automated translation and development of the Global Dossier, among many others.

It was a worthwhile visit. If the EPO’s and SIPO’s work together is to continue for another thirty years, it is the interest of bright and interested students such as these that needs to be nurtured. It is their ambition and professional skills that will fuel future initiatives between our offices. Just as previous employees and management from our offices have brought about concrete results, the next generation from China and their counterparts from Europe will be the ones that could develop the ground-breaking patent projects of tomorrow. I also hope that, with over 1000 SIPO staff trained to date, some of those students will perhaps one day benefit from the continuous exchange of knowledge and training programmes that have been implemented by our offices.

For the immediate future, I was pleased to be able to discuss with Commissioner Shen of SIPO the continuation of our bilateral working relations, including our work on data exchange and EPOQUE use and training. It was a good opportunity to sign the EPO-SIPO annual work plan which envisages the continuation of our joint projects and initiatives for the next year.

On behalf of the EPO, I offer a sincere thank you to our hosts from SIPO and the Chinese government for their hospitality and a productive visit. From the topics and initiatives discussed with all those we met, the future of EPO-SIPO cooperation looks set to deliver yet more benefits for users of the international patent system.

Benoît Battistelli


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