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European patent reform in focus of talks with UK intellectual property minister

UK Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe and EPO President Benoît Battistelli

19 March 2015

The UK's Minister for Intellectual Property, Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe and EPO President Benoît Battistelli met on 18 March 2015 at the EPO headquarters in Munich to discuss recent developments in the patent system in Europe and globally. The Minister was accompanied by John Alty, Chief Executive and Comptroller General of the UK Intellectual Property Office.

"I am delighted to welcome the Minister and use this opportunity to take stock of a number of issues of common interest," said EPO President Battistelli. "We are clearly on the same page about our top priorities: improving the quality and efficiency of the patent system as a driver of innovation, economic growth and employment."

Mr Battistelli and Baroness Neville-Rolfe shared common views on recent developments in intellectual property including the first positive results of the recent reforms implemented at the EPO, promising perspective concerning international harmonisation and the advanced level of preparation for setting up the new unitary patent system.

The meeting was also a good opportunity for the Minister to be updated about recent achievements at the EPO to further improve the patent examination process and patent information dissemination, including New EPOQUE, Patent Translate and Cooperative Patent Classification.

Also on the agenda were joint activities between the EPO and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The EPO and the IPO signed a co-operation agreement in March 2014, which covers facilitating access to patent information for British businesses and scientists, and also IT services and e-learning tools.

Companies from the UK filed more than 6 800 patents at the EPO last year. This was up +4.8% over 2013, and the highest growth rate for the UK since 2011, and well above the 1.2% average increase of the EPO member states. The UK is a founding member of the European Patent Organisation, which has grown from 7 countries in 1977 to 38 member states today.

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