This work was undertaken at the initiative of the European Patent Office to mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the European Patent Convention on 5 October 1973. It traces the origins of the European Patent Office (EPO) and its development since the 1970s.
The author, Pascal Griset, is Professor of Contemporary History at Paris-Sorbonne University, specialising in the history of technology, with a focus on IT and communications. The views and opinions expressed in the book are his own.
As a historian basing his approach on documentary research, the author was faced with a twofold challenge: writing a book that would be accessible to an informed but non-specialist audience, while also satisfying experts in the field.
His study will remain a source work for the future historians of Europe. He sets out to reveal an institution little known by the public despite its remarkable success, performing a function that goes far beyond simply managing patents. He stresses its ever-present human dimension and shows that within a framework of politics, ideals, aspirations and constraints it seeks to provide a unified European environment for innovation.