Message from the new President

04 July 2018

Just a few days ago I embarked upon one of the biggest journeys of my professional career. On 1 July, I started my role as President of this organisation. It is an immense honour to follow in the footsteps of some of the great characters who have shaped IP in Europe and beyond.

I am also very privileged to lead an institution that is unquestionably a success story. 38 member states have been pulling in the same direction to create a strong international organisation. The EPO enjoys a reputation for being a leader in granting high quality patents. It also has nearly 7 000 highly qualified and experienced staff who have shown that they can increase the performance of the whole Office, particularly over the last few years.

Like all organisations, there is always room for improvement. In my letter of motivation the first issue I identified was effectiveness. The EPO has already shown itself to be a highly efficient organisation. And that’s great for our long-term sustainability. But I want to ask the question, can we be more effective by delivering services in the right way? That’s a question which we’re going to have to explore from a multitude of perspectives. Talent management, quality, automation, digital transformation, big data analytics and many others will play their role in facing challenges. But concentrating on these matters and delivering them at the right time is just part of the answer. We need to ensure they are done in the right manner.

Another area where we could assess the need for further action is in the field of co-operation. Part of our strength lies in the fact that we are an international organisation. We cannot therefore live in isolation, but instead form part of a rich IP ecosystem, with many different actors. That means we may have to assess the nature of that co-operation. For example, can we reinforce co-operation with our member states? And we could ask how users can be given a greater focus in the European Patent Network.

The third area is dialogue with staff. Earlier today, I sent a message to all our staff members in my capacity as their new President. I wanted to let them know immediately that staff engagement is among my top priorities, that I would welcome their ideas on any changes we might consider making to this Office. That input is going to be vital: next June I will present to the Administrative Council a Strategic Plan that will present a multi-annual work programme for the EPO.

Staff input will play a major role in developing this Strategic Plan, but the EPO has many stakeholders, including you. During the course of the next year you can expect to be invited to consultations on how we tackle the strategic issues that face this organisation – whether you are a patent applicant, a national patent office or simply someone interested in following developments at the EPO through this blog.

António Campinos

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