Munich/Vaduz, 14 September 2012 -- In his first official visit to the Principality of Liechtenstein, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoît Battistelli, met with representatives of government and industry to discuss how to maintain and enhance the role of the patent system in boosting innovation in the country.
Leading up to the visit, President Battistelli highlighted that closer co-operation between the EPO and its member states is crucial to providing better services to European industry: "Only by working together with our local partners through the exchange of best-practices, know-how, and tools, can we make optimum use of the resources and competences available among the whole network of European countries," he said. "Liechtenstein, the 6th smallest country in the world, is a very good example that the size of a country is not a precondition for attaining high innovation performance and knowledge-based economic growth," he added. "In 2011, there were 264 patent filings at the EPO from companies from Liechtenstein, which has a population of some 36 000 inhabitants," he said.
President Battistelli met with Liechtenstein's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture Aurelia Frick, who welcomed the close co-operation of the European Patent Office with its member states and emphasised the significance of the European patent system: "An efficient and well developed patent system in Europe is vital for the success of the innovative, knowledge-based, export-oriented industry of Liechtenstein," she said.
During the visit, President Battistelli was also welcomed by HSH Hereditary Prince Alois at Vaduz Castle, and held a meeting with patent professionals and industry representatives.
Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Patent Organisation since 1 April 1980.
The European Patent Office (EPO)
The EPO provides a central one-stop service to both individual inventors and companies from around the world. It enables them to obtain patent protection in up to 40 European states through a uniform procedure requiring just one application. Today, the EPO is one of Europe's leading international organisations, with 7 000 staff from more than 30 nations working in Munich, The Hague, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels. It is the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation, and is entirely self-financed with an annual budget of EUR 1.8 billion.
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