7th EPO-SIPO meeting of heads brings offices even closer together

29 November 2013

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EPO President Benoît Battistelli and SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu

The heads of the European Patent Office (EPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) met this week and renewed their commitment to supporting innovation globally.

Meeting in Beijing, EPO President Benoît Battistelli and SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu signed an agreement under which SIPO will use the latest version of the EPO's patent search engine (EPOQUE), as well as an annual workplan to implement several joint projects in 2014. The priorities for EPO-SIPO bilateral relations next year will be to bring the two Offices even closer by introducing the same search engine (EPOQUE), the adoption of the same classification (CPC) and the reutilisation of examiner's work, including the timely exchange of enriched citations.

This decisive meeting follows the joint launch in December 2012 of the Chinese-English component of the EPO's machine translation tool for patents, Patent Translate, and the announcement earlier this year that SIPO would adopt the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme, which is already in use at the EPO.

EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "The EPO and SIPO are two of the largest patent offices in the world. Over the past year we have intensified our co-operation in the use of tools and services that are essential for establishing a high-quality, efficient patent system also at global level. This supports innovating companies from China, Europe and other countries in protecting their intellectual property more effectively - as they can expect comparable conditions when patenting their inventions in different regions of the world."

During his official visit to China, President Battistelli had the opportunity to meet with some of the EPO's top applicants from Chinese industry, with the aim to better understand their needs as applicants and to share views on how to improve the patent system. Additionally, a meeting with the EU Ambassador to China and an event with European industry was organised at the Delegation of the EU to China.

At a formal ceremony on 26 November, the EPO President received an honorary professorship from Renmin University of China (RUC), for his merits in strengthening the relationship between China and Europe in the field of intellectual property. He received the honour also on behalf of the whole Office, in recognition of its contribution to the patent system.

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