28 May 2013
EPO President Benoît Battistelli today highlighted the creativity of Europe's inventors, and the role of the patent system in helping to translate this innovation potential into economic growth and social development.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Amsterdam with European Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier on the occasion of the European Inventor Award 2013, Mr Battistelli said: "The inventors honoured today provide us with some striking examples of Europe's inventive spirit. Even if our world is increasingly driven by technology, without ingenious and dedicated women and men there can be no progress."
Mr Battistelli also paid tribute to the European Patent Convention, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, for having laid the foundations for what is today the largest and most successful regional patent system in the world, covering a market of some 600 million people. "The Convention was a key factor in turning Europe into an innovation stronghold, " he said. "For four decades now the European patent system has provided inventors with a solid and trustworthy structure on which to base their patenting decisions."
Looking to the future the EPO President welcomed the agreement reached late last year by EU member states to introduce a unitary patent and a unified patent court. "This will render access to patent protection more attractive and affordable for European businesses, especially SMEs and research institutions," he said, "helping them to keep their competitive edge in innovation and to come up with ingenious inventions that result in commercially successful products, create jobs and generate wealth."
Commissioner Barnier said that the unitary patent is one instrument in the Commission's toolbox of measures aimed at creating the best environment for innovation. "European companies and research institutes need a European patent that is competitively priced."
Other measures include trademark protection, funding for innovation and combating counterfeiting. He stressed that 200 000 jobs are lost in Europe every year due to counterfeiting.
"To remain competitive we need to encourage investment in the key sectors of technology. Otherwise Europe risks becoming a sub-contractor and consumer of technology," Mr Barnier said.