16 May 2014
EPO President Benoît Battistelli and President of the Turkish Patent Institute, Prof. Dr. Habip Asan, opened a conference of Europe's patent information centres (PATLIB) yesterday in Istanbul. More than 250 representatives of patent offices and patent information centres from all over Europe are meeting on 15/16 May for the 24th annual PATLIB conference, one of the largest gatherings of its kind. This year's conference is a networking event, organised by the EPO in partnership with the Turkish Patent Institute (TPI).
"Close co-operation between the EPO and the national patent offices of its member states is important to enable us to provide better services to European industry," said EPO President Battistelli. "As the first point of contact for companies and inventors locally, the PATLIB centres play a crucial role in providing information and services on patents," he said. "Having competent and highly qualified centres across Europe will promote public awareness of IP issues, and contribute to the innovativeness and competitiveness of the European economy." President Battistelli also expressed his deepest condolences on behalf of all EPO staff to the Turkish people for the tragic loss of life in the mine accident in Soma.
"We appreciate the fact the European Patent Office is not limiting its co-operation activities to the national patent offices, but is also including the patent information centres which are like envoys of these offices," said TPI President Prof. Asan. "I believe that the most important element that makes the European Patent Organisation and European Patent Office the most prestigious regional industrial property authority is this inclusiveness. This will pave the way for spreading out the awareness of industrial property to all the layers of society."
The PATLIB network is made up of more than 300 regional patent information centres in the EPO member states. The centres are very diverse in terms of size, service profile (ranging from simple library to sophisticated IP consultancy services), and host organisation (from universities and industry associations such as chambers of commerce to technology centres and national patent offices) but they all play a key role in providing information and advice to users of the patent system.
The EPO supports the PATLIB centres via the national IP offices as part of its co-operation with its member states. This support aims at extending the range and quality of services offered to users by providing training and tools to PATLIB staff, and enhancing the public visibility of the centres.
On the initiative of the Turkish Patent Institute, more than 70 PATLIB centres were established in recent years throughout Turkey and a strong national network of patent support service centres is emerging. The commitment and support of the TPI has been instrumental in this development.
Co-operation with Turkey
During the visit, the heads of the EPO and TPI also met with rectors and vice-rectors of Turkish universities and leading Turkish businesses, in order to exchange views on their needs and on how to improve the patent system in Europe. The EPO and TPI also discussed bilateral co-operation activities. One joint project completed recently is the addition of Turkish to the EPO's free online machine translation tool Patent Translate, which benefits inventors and companies in Turkey and across Europe by providing easier access to a huge amount of patent information about the latest technologies.
Turkish companies are increasingly patenting their inventions in Europe. In 2013 there were more than 900 filings from Turkish applicants at the EPO, up 32% over the previous year. The top fields of technology for Turkish companies were pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, furniture and medical technology. Turkey has been a member of the European Patent Organisation since 1 November 2000.