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22 October 2013
The EPO has signed an agreement with the Republic of San Marino on national patent searches, which is aimed at fostering innovation and improving the environment for business. Under the agreement, signed by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and San Marino's Minister for Industry, Handicraft and Trade Marco Arzilli on 16 October in Munich, the EPO will conduct 'prior art' searches on behalf of the Patent and Trademark Office of the Republic of San Marino (USBM).
"Businesses in Europe and beyond are increasingly recognising the benefits of patenting their inventions," said Mr Battistelli. "This agreement will help companies in San Marino seeking Europe-wide protection of their innovations, and it is another step forward in improving the overall quality of patents in Europe. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and universities, stand to benefit."
"This is a very important signature for the San Marino business world, and a step forward for innovation and development," said Minister Arzilli. "The patents and trademark sector must be supported and enhanced. Thanks to this agreement with the EPO, the Republic of San Marino can be on an equal footing with other European countries with regards to the possibility to innovate and enter new markets."
Under the agreement, which enters into force on 1 January 2014, the EPO will provide a patent search within nine months of the filing date of the application in San Marino, listing all prior art (any evidence that an invention is already known) that will be relevant for judging the novelty and non-obviousness of the invention, as well as a written opinion setting out what its patentability chances are in the light of the search report. This will allow businesses to quickly assess the potential of their inventions and thus take informed business decisions on their cases.