European Patent Network gathered in Iceland to foster cooperation about innovation in Europe
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12 June 2013
The EPO, the member states of the European Patent Organisation and the OHIM in its observer capacity met in Reykjavik on 11/12 June to discuss how to bring co-operation forward in order to improve the quality and efficiency of the European patent system, and thus better serve industry. This comes at a time when decision-makers in Europe are increasingly aware of the need to strengthen the intellectual property system to boost innovation and economic growth, and businesses are anticipating changes such as the planned introduction of a unitary patent and unified patent litigation system.
Addressing the meeting, EPO President Benoît Battistelli highlighted that close co-operation between the EPO and its member states is crucial to improving the IP landscape in Europe: "This is an exciting time, with Europe moving forward on IP issues, and we need to continue to work together to ensure the success of these efforts and provide a better service to European industry."
This year's co-operation meeting, hosted by the Icelandic Patent Office, looked at the three main topics that are at the heart of co-operation between the EPO and Europe's national patent offices: training; IP awareness and patent information; and IT tools, services and standards. A number of new initiatives were launched in all three areas, such as the future e-service of online filing, Patent Translate, dedicated training programmes for the European Qualification Examination, the Federated Register, language training in the three official languages of the EPO, among others.
In his opening speech, EPO Vice-President Raimund Lutz looked at what has been achieved during the first one-and-a-half years of implementing the EPO's "Co-operation Roadmap" with its member states: "Co-operation is more important than ever because we all are facing the same global challenges, which have an impact on the functioning and the performance of the patent system," he said. The new approach to cooperation activities as defined by the roadmap, which takes more into account the diversity among the EPN, the specific national needs and brought more flexibility during the implementation phase of the projects, was widely praised by the delegations.
Promoting IP development in Iceland
During his stay EPO President Benoît Battistelli also had the opportunity to participate to several meetings with the President of Iceland, Mr Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mrs Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, and representatives of patent attorney associations and industry in the premises of deCODE Genetics, to discuss how to further strengthen the patent system.
The visit to the President of Iceland was a good opportunity to debate the role of patents as an incentive for companies and inventors to invest in R&D while at the same time contributing to the dissemination of technical knowledge, which spurs further innovation.
After the discussions with the Minister of Industry and Commerce, who stated that "Iceland is a small country but with a lot of thinkers" and praised the valuable cooperation with the EPO, the Director General of the Icelandic Patent Office, Mrs Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, announced that the preparation of a IP policy plan, as a part of a comprehensive national strategy, is very important to increase innovation and attract foreign investments in the country.