International co-operation

My first official visit to Serbia


Last week, I had the privilege of paying my first official visit to Serbia, which became a member of the European Patent Organisation exactly one year ago. Serbia enjoys a long tradition of industrial property: in fact, it was one of the founding fathers of the Paris Convention signed back in 1883. It was therefore […]

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 […]

G8 leaders support a quality patent system


Last week in Deauville (France), the G8 held its 37th summit. For the last five years, its general statement has always included a reference to IP issues. Initially, the focus was on the fight against piracy and counterfeiting, but it has now moved on to more specific and technical issues. In 2011, the G8 leaders […]

Another step towards an enhanced European IP environment


Yesterday, I had the pleasure to be in Alicante to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). Some may question whether such an agreement between the EPO and OHIM is really needed; they may feel that the principles and procedures governing patents are too different […]