22 September 2011
In his first official visit to Serbia since the country joined the European Patent Organisation, EPO President Benoît Battistelli met with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Bozidar Djelic and Minister of Education and Science Zarko Obradovic to discuss how to further strengthen the country's intellectual property system.
Among the topics addressed were the role of patents in supporting innovation, the harmonisation of intellectual property laws in the framework of EU integration and the EPO's co-operation with Serbia, which became a member of the Organisation in October 2010.
"Co-operation between the European Patent Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Serbia supports the development of a knowledge-based economy and stimulates research and development activities in Serbia," said President Battistelli. "This means more economic growth and social development." He added: "Close collaboration between the EPO and the national patent offices in Europe is also key to ensuring that we continue to improve the quality and efficiency of patent protection in Europe."
During the two-day visit, the EPO President also met with the head of the Serbian Intellectual Property Office Branka Totic, and representatives of industry and academia.
Addressing an audience at the Ceremonial Hall of the Rectorate of Belgrade University, President Battistelli highlighted the importance of patents as intangible assets and as a source of technical knowledge.
"Patent information is a fundamental tool for the economic system," he said. "Its effective use and understanding stimulates innovation. That is why I consider that for a patent office, the wide dissemination of the technological information contained in patent applications is as important as its role in granting patent protection."
The EPO is currently implementing a EUR 2.2 million EU-funded project in Serbia aimed at strengthening IP protection in the country. Under the project, an Education and Information Centre was set up in the Serbian IP Office in January 2010. The Centre works to raise awareness of the importance of IP among universities and industry, and enhance IP knowledge amongst enforcement bodies such as customs and courts.