8 March 2017
EPO President Benoît Battistelli met the UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson in London on 8 March to discuss recent developments in patents and their role in supporting innovation. Mr Battistelli and Mr Johnson discussed the European patent system and recent reforms at the EPO to further improve the quality and efficiency of the patent grant process, ahead of the EPO's future role in the unitary patent system.
Minister Johnson said: "It was a pleasure to meet with President Battistelli today to discuss the European patent system and wider efforts to support innovation. Driving economic growth across the UK is a priority for this Government and therefore IP has never been more important." He added: "Successful intellectual property regimes protect the hard work of inventors, underpin innovative economies, and help inspiring ideas become a reality."
EPO President Battistelli said: "I was very pleased to hear the reconfirmation by the Minister that the UK government is committed to finalize the national ratification of the UPC treaty in order for the Court to be operational on 1 December 2017 and thus for the EPO to be able to deliver the first Unitary Patent at the same time."
EPO President Battistelli also met with the Council and Patent Committee of the IP Federation, the UK industry association, where he presented recent developments at the EPO and the positive results the EPO achieved in 2016. It was a good opportunity to receive the feedback of British users on several projects launched by the EPO, such as Early Certainty.
According to the EPO's 2016 Annual Report, published on 7 March, companies and inventors from the UK filed more than 5 100 patent applications at the EPO last year, an increase of +1.8% and the highest number since 2010. This was above the average of the EPO member states (-0.2%). Last year, British firms and individuals were granted 2 931 European patents by the EPO - the biggest increase in ten years and a new record number.
The UK is a founding member of the European Patent Organisation, which has grown from 7 countries in 1977 to 38 member states today.