08 March 2011
With this in mind, I was very happy to be, in early February, the first EPO President to visit Albania, our 37th member state, and I will be soon going to Serbia, our last new member state. At the end of February, I also had the pleasure of attending the INVENTA Award Ceremony in Lisbon, an event which showcased the dynamism of the Portuguese Patent Office and the commitment of the Portuguese authorities to supporting innovation.
Last week found me in Bulgaria, where I was really impressed by the IP team built around the Bulgarian Patent Office, with representatives from the different institutions – including the universities, the judiciary, the ministry of foreign affairs and the patent attorney profession – covering all patent-related issues. Moreover, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has been able to fully integrate the patent process into its activities and could serve as an example of best practice for other academic institutions and universities in Europe.
These visits allow me to get a real feel for the range of diversity in Europe. They also bring home the need for the EPO to work closely with the national offices to tailor our co-operation activities for maximum efficiency. Indeed, while the EPO has the capacity to develop a wide range of co-operation tools, no one is better placed than the national offices to ensure that these activities reach the end users. This is why I strongly believe that local needs – with the accent very firmly on practical projects – must be one of the main drivers of our co-operation policy.