11 February 2011
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The President of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli, paid his first official visit to Albania since the country become a member of the European Patent Organisation in May 2010. He met with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and with Nasip Naço, Minister of Economy, Trade and Energy, to discuss how to further develop Albania's system for the protection of intellectual property.
The EPO will start implementing this year the IPA national project "Developing the Industrial Property System in Albania" which is funded by the EU Delegation to Albania and which was developed following the country's IPR Enforcement Strategy 2010 to 2015. The strategy aims at further developing Albania's IP system and was adopted by the Albanian Parliament last year.
"Innovation is the key resource for the European economy. The protection of innovation with intellectual property rights, therefore, is essential for securing economic growth and stability. The patent system is not a goal in itself, but a useful tool for the economy. The EPO welcomes the initiative of the Albanian government to further develop the country's IP system, and will support this process with its expertise in the implementation of the new project", President Battistelli stated at a press conference.
The EPO discussed the bilateral co-operation activities with the General Directorate of Patents and Trademarks and proposed to provide increased assistance in the following areas: training of staff, capacity building of the office including IT support and awareness activities for the public, enterprises and universities.
With 7000 staff and its budget of EUR 1.64 billion entirely self-financed the EPO is one of the largest patent authorities. As central European patent authority the Office is responsible for the examination of European patent applications and the grant of European patents that are potentially valid in all of the Organisations' 38 member states, covering an area of nearly 600 million inhabitants. In 2010, the EPO received 232 000 patent filings and granted 58 000 patents.