State Office of Industrial Property of the Republic of North Macedonia marks 30th anniversary

Christoph Ernst, EPO Vice-President and Blerim Idrizi SOIP Director

From left to right: Christoph Ernst, EPO Vice-President and Blerim Idrizi SOIP Director.


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The State Office of Industrial Property of the Republic of North Macedonia (SOIP) recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. To mark this milestone, SOIP held a ceremony attended by H.E. Mr Stevo Pendarovski, President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Christoph Ernst, EPO Vice-President Legal/International Affairs, and representatives from representatives from WIPO, EUIPO and the national offices of Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Slovenia.

Speaking at the ceremony in Skopje, the EPO Vice-President congratulated SOIP on the anniversary. He praised North Macedonia for having made innovation and intellectual property a cornerstone of its economic and sustainable development agenda, and also spoke on co-operation between the two organisations: “As a longstanding partner of SOIP, we at the EPO are proud to have played our part in this growth journey and in supporting your ongoing bid for deeper European integration.”

History of co-operation

In 1997, just four years after SOIP had been established, North Macedonia became an extension state, marking the start of long-standing collaboration. In the years that followed, the two organisations worked on integrating patent data, improving the quality in machine translations of patent information and raising awareness of intellectual property. 

When North Macedonia acceded to the European Patent Convention (EPC) in 2009, it heralded a new era in co-operation. Over the past 14 years, multiple initiatives have been implemented. These span activities to strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity of SOIP, provide training to its staff and develop world-class IT tools and services. Most recently, the EPO deployed its Front Office system, making it easier for any user in North Macedonia to file patent applications. The system is efficient and enables SOIP to process applications digitally while reducing the risk of manual errors.

Looking ahead, the two offices will continue implementing activities under the bilateral co-operation agreement established under the EPO’s Strategic Plan 2023. This collaboration covers areas such as training, digital transformation, as well as initiatives to promote the patent system both at national and European level.