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The EPO and India enhance co-operation on patents

The EPO and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral co-operation establishing a framework for structured work relations between the EPO and the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO India)

7 November 2014

The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO India) have agreed to renew their co-operation on patents in an effort to support innovation in both regions.

The EPO and the Government of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral co-operation establishing a framework for structured work relations between the EPO and the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO India) for at least four years. The overriding objective is to support the development of the patent system in terms of service delivery and efficiency, particularly by means of technical co-operation and exchange of best practices in areas such as patent examination, administration and information. On this occasion, the EPO and the Indian IPO also signed the first biennial work plan under the MoU.

“This is an important step forward in our relations with India, which is becoming a major player in global innovation,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. “Through this agreement Europe and India are reinforcing their efforts to create new opportunities for innovating businesses that will be able to benefit from improved conditions for the protection of intellectual property in India. This will encourage European businesses to take their inventions to the Indian market, whereas higher quality patents are making it easier for Indian inventors to access the European market. In this respect, the agreement also aims to stimulate the promotion of economic development and the transfer of technology between both regions,” he added.

Out of the 43 674 patent applications filed with the Indian Patent Office in 2012/13, 9 911 were filed by Indian applicants. In fact, both national and international patent filings by Indians have increased considerably in 2012/13 alone, by 11% and 32% respectively, year-on-year. Out of the approximately 1 100 international patent applications filed by Indian residents in 2013, 564 applications were received by the EPO. Applications filed by Europeans at the Indian IPO remain stable at approximately 12 000, or roughly one third of foreign filings. Five of the top 10 foreign resident applicants at the IPO are European companies.

As part of its efforts to support innovation and the user community, the EPO has also concluded a co-operation agreement with the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES) to promote the European patent system in India and to support technology transfer between Europe and India. The co-operation programme is being implemented through the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) - an EU co-funded initiative implemented by EUROCHAMBRES - which provides a platform for Indo-European co-operation on clean energy technologies and advises European enterprises on IPR issues in India through its IPR Help Desk.

“Thanks to this co-operation agreement, European companies wishing to set a foot in India can now count on two solid and experienced partners addressing their IPR issues,” said EUROCHAMBRES’ Secretary General Arnaldo Abruzzini. “Such hands-on support to safeguard their IPR is a game-changer in particular for European SMEs when making a decision to internationalise their operations. We hope that this model of cooperation will be replicated in other relevant markets in the future,” he said.

The EPO also signed a work plan with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DEITY) of the Government of India, thereby establishing a platform for co-operation in the field of ICT related patent matters between Europe and India.

Indo-European Conference on ICT-related Patents

The co-operation agreements were announced on the eve of the Indo-European Conference on ICT-related Patents, which takes place in Munich today. The conference is being jointly organised by the EPO and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY) of the Indian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. It aims to provide European SMEs and industry in the ICT sector, as well as IP law firms, business associations, and chambers of commerce, with first-hand accounts of the opportunities and challenges presented by the Indian patent system. The programme will also spotlight best patenting practices in the field of ICT- inventions.

Further information

Indo-European Conference on ICT-related Patents
Intellectual Property Office of India
India and Europe strengthen links in research, innovation and IPR (Conference report, PDF)

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