17 October 2013
The city of Munich today changed the name of the area in front of the EPO headquarters (Isar building) to Bob-van-Benthem-Platz in honour of the EPO's first president, Johannes Bob van Benthem.
The inauguration ceremony took place this morning as part of the festivities marking the 40th anniversary of the signing of the European Patent Convention in 1973.
From today the Isar building's street address is no longer Erhardtstrasse 27 but Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1. The postal address remains unchanged.
Van Benthem was one of the founding fathers of the European patent system. Widely admired for his personality, commitment and persuasiveness, he played an important part in making the EPO the successful international organisation it is today.
"He was universally liked and respected, as a President with strong and clear principles, a public servant in the fullest sense, whose integrity and fairness radiated throughout the Office. His personality and the values he upheld and embodied had a deep and lasting impact on the internal workings of the EPO and its dealings with the outside world," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli at the ceremony.
Munich Mayor Christian Ude, who conducted the ceremony together with the EPO President, highlighted the close ties between the Office and the Bavarian capital, calling Munich "the European patent capital". He said that the Office had contributed to the "cosmopolitan flair" of the city and helped to make it "a stronghold of science and research". He said that Munich is "proud to be the home of the European Patent Organisation and Office" and that the renaming of the square was a sign of "appreciation of Bob van Benthem's work".
A Dutch lawyer, van Benthem (1921-2006) served as EPO President from 1 November 1977 to 20 April 1985. He was also President of the Netherlands Patent Office from 1968 to 1977.
This is the third time that a host city has paid tribute to one of the EPO's founding fathers. In 2007, the municipal council in Rijswijk (The Hague) inaugurated Van Benthemlaan, and in 2003 Munich honoured Kurt Haertel by giving his name to the pedestrian passageway which cuts through the EPO's PschorrHöfe complex.