EPO Vice-President for the Patent Granting Process speaks on “Two IPs in a Pod” and meets UK Minister for AI and IP


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Steve Rowan, Vice-President for the Patent Granting Process at the European Patent Office (EPO), has spoken on the latest edition of the "Two IPs in a Pod" podcast, recorded in London and released by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). The podcast covers various topics, including the uptake of the Unitary Patent, the commitment of the EPO to diversity and inclusion, the advantages of digitalisation, and our recently launched Quality Action Plan for 2024.

During the conversation with the hosts, CIPA Chief Executive Lee Davies and Honorary Secretary Gwilym Roberts, Steve Rowan highlighted:

  • The significant uptake of the Unitary Patent among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in both Europe and the UK, and the Office's dashboard, which shows the Unitary Patent’s ongoing success.
  • The EPO's commitment to diversity and inclusivity including efforts to hire more women and engage young graduates throughout Europe. Steve showcased the Pan-European Seal Young Professionals programme and the Office’s steps to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion.
  • The advantages of digitalisation, increased accessibility and support provided to start-ups. This part of the talk covered the use of videoconferencing for more accessible and transparent oral proceedings and the launch of the Deep Tech Finder, which uses patent information to help investors and venture capitalists link with startups that have patent applications at the EPO
  • The Quality Action Plan 2024, feedback received through the SACEPO WP on Quality, and measures to ensure the EPO's services meet users' needs and maintain high standards.

Both Lee Davies and Gwilym Roberts offered praise to the EPO and endorsed the high quality of the Office's products and services, among other important aspects related to their members.

In addition to the podcast, Steve Rowan liaised on patent quality with leading UK IP judges, attending a CIPA event (conducted under Chatham House rules) on 29 April entitled "UK patent drafting and litigation: myth, legend & reality."

First exchanges with UK Minister for AI and IP

While in the UK, Steve also took the opportunity to meet with Viscount Camrose, the UK Minister for AI and IP, who was appointed in March 2023.

In this first exchange with the Minister, several topics were discussed, including the importance of European patents and the Unitary Patent for UK businesses and inventors (around 9 in 10 patents granted in the UK each year are EP patents), as well as the strong presence of UK patent attorneys in European patenting activity (nearly 19% of patent applications received by the EPO are filed by a UK attorney). Steve highlighted the importance of the UK Intellectual Property Office's switch to ANSERA-based Search, based on EPO technology. He also mentioned that the UK has the most startups listed in the Deep Tech Finder among EPC countries.