Patents

High-level gathering of European patent judges in Dublin


Last week in Dublin, from 4 to 7 September, the mood was celebratory, with a double anniversary. Dublin Castle was the venue for the 16th European Patent Judges’ Symposium, exactly 30 years after the first of these events, in 1982, and 20 years after Ireland’s accession to the European Patent Convention, which took effect on […]

Breakthrough for the unitary patent


Like many of you, I was especially pleased at the outcome of last week’s European Council regarding the proposed European patent court. Agreement was finally reached, at the highest level of European government, on the seat of the court’s Central Division, the issue which had been blocking the entire unitary patent package since the end […]

ESAB – the EPO sets up a new economic and scientific tool


Last week, I had the pleasure of taking part in the first meeting of the EPO’s Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB). This new body is made up of eleven men and women, each from a different country (Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Turkey, UK and USA). They have diverse professional backgrounds […]

Another peak year for European patent filings


On Tuesday, we published our preliminary figures for patent filings received in 2011. They reached a new peak of 243 000, up 3% on the 2010 figure (235 000), which was itself a record but boosted in part by the one-off surge in divisional applications. One might have expected the financial and economic crisis in […]

The unitary patent and the European Patent Court – negotiations nearly complete?


Will we get a decision this year? On 5 December, the EU Competitiveness Council discussed the unitary patent and European Patent Court package. Although no final decision was taken, well-informed sources say that agreement is not far off. The Polish EU presidency is doing its best to achieve it by the end of the year, […]

Patents and biotechnology – latest developments


In no other area are patentability issues so controversial as in biotechnology. That might appear surprising; after all, the R&D work done in this field can pave the way for new therapies with enormous medical and commercial potential, so encouraging it through patents might seem only logical. But patents are also ownership rights, which some […]

Improving the dissemination of patent information


I have just had the pleasure of opening the EPO Patent Information Conference 2011 which is taking place in Kilkenny (Ireland) from 18 to 20 October. Kilkenny occupies a special position in EPO history, as the place where our logo was designed. This conference devoted to one of the EPO’s two main tasks – the […]

Commissioner Barnier in Munich


Last week, I was delighted to welcome to the EPO an EU delegation led by Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and including two Members of the European Parliament, Cecilia Wikström (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and Eva Lichtenberger (Green Party). The main purpose of this first official visit […]

Geneva rendezvous


WIPO’s annual general assemblies are a unique opportunity for the worldwide intellectual-property community to come together, with patent issues just one course on a very appetising menu. This year’s began with the opening of the new WIPO building. The ceremony included a wonderful performance from Barbara Hendricks, who also took the opportunity to highlight the […]

US moves forward … Europe’s turn next?


On 8 September 2011, the US Senate passed a patent reform bill known as the America Invents Act. It makes some of the biggest changes to US patent law seen in the last 60 years; for one thing, it enshrines the switch from “first-to-invent” to “first-to-file”. The bill should be signed into law by President […]