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12 May 2011
The Director-General of the Tunisian National Institute for Standardization and Industrial Property (INNORPI), Aymen Mekki, and the President of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli, have signed an agreement to cooperate more closely on patent protection.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding and work plan signed on 11 May in Munich, the two offices agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation in the interest of strengthening the global patent system which will benefit individuals and companies wishing to protect their inventions across borders. The aim is to sign an agreement on the validation of European patents in Tunisia by 2012.
Under this agreement applicants would be able to validate their European patent applications and EPO-granted patents in Tunisia, even though it is not a contracting state to the European Patent Convention (EPC). Applications and patents validated in Tunisia would have the same legal protection as those in the EPO member states also designated by the applicant.
Under the partnership, the EPO and INNORPI have also agreed on a series of measures to foster the Tunisian national patent system. INNORPI's patent examiners will be given access to, and be instructed in, using the EPO's scientific and technical documentation. The European Patent Academy, the EPO's training arm, will also support the Tunisian intellectual property academy in training both local IP specialists and public officials responsible for economic policy.
"The EPO is ready to support the efforts of the Tunisian office to put in place an ambitious innovation policy. Improving the national system of IP protection and signing a validation agreement with the EPO are key factors in making Tunisia an attractive location for foreign investment," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.