https://www.epo.org/en/node/50-years-epc

50 years of the European Patent Convention

The 50th anniversary of the signing of the European Patent Convention (EPC) made 2023 a landmark year for the European patent system. The aim of the EPOs 50th anniversary celebrations was to honour all those – our member states, our staff, our partners, our users and all the inventors – who have worked so hard to realise the vision of the signatories of the EPC, united in the belief that closer co-operation between European states benefits innovation and supports peace and prosperity. 

A programme with sustainability at its core, shaped by volunteers and successfully delivered thanks to Office-wide engagement and collaboration.

To celebrate this milestone, a team of 150 staff volunteers developed ideas and created a diverse programme of activities and initiatives, rooted in the EPO values, that contributed to a broad selection of UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The programme was structured around five objectives:

  • celebrating the spirit of co-operation among the broader EPO community
  • sharing our story with the public
  • connecting people through art and innovation
  • inspiring young people and
  • strengthening our culture of diversity and inclusivity.

Close collaboration between volunteers and operational units across the Office led to successful project implementation across all sites and departments, with around 320 staff involved in the organisation and realisation of activities. The programme closed on a positive feeling of pride shared by all contributors. 

Figure 1 – A programme of activities structured around five objectives and with a strong focus on sustainability

Source: EPO

A programme designed to keep up the momentum throughout 2023.

The mix of activities was spread throughout the year to maximise exposure and public awareness of the historic anniversary.    

Impactful campaigns accompanied each event, resulting in extensive reach across social media.

'50 Years' EPC activities were systematically promoted to EPO staff and the public. Ten campaigns on social media generated 1.7 million views, with content receiving an above average level of engagement. Staff were kept well informed throughout the year: over 50 news items were published on the Intranet, with 44 videos promoting activities, sharing highlights and participant testimonials, as well as competition results and in-depth interviews.

Overall, this content attracted 120 000 views across the Office. The major public event on 5 October attracted more than 18 000 viewers, most of whom joined via social media. Some 1 700 EPO staff also participated on the day at public viewing areas in the canteens of EPO sites. The remaining 50 Years EPC events attracted over 6 000 participants in total, representing a mix of staff members, families and local residents. For example, on its public opening, Isar's A&T 5-10 Culture Space received 1 200 visits from Munich residents (including staff) during the city’s Long Night of the Museums.

Figure 2 – Key figures summarising the impact of the activities promoting 50 years of the EPC

Source: EPO

Figure 3 – Visibility and awareness were impactfully generated by using unique, consistent branding across all communication channels and throughout the entire campaign

Source: EPO

A long-term investment.

Many of the anniversary activities that took place will continue to bring lasting benefits in terms of outreach.

The video statements made by member states on epo.org convey strong, public-facing messages concerning the unity and diversity of the European Patent Organisation.

The A&T 5-10 Culture Space is an internal event location for hosting workshops and team-building activities, as well as stakeholders and partners visiting our Isar headquarters. Staff can also explore the space during breaks. The 2024 Girls' Day event in Munich will use the space to present the Office's activities to the younger generation. A programme is being prepared for visits by local schools as well as the EPO’s participation in the city's Long Night of the Museums in October 2024.

The Kids' Collaborative Art competition helped establish positive relationships with various schools around the world. This competition is promising for the EPO's future educational activities for younger audiences. 

Paper transformation artworks: Following a public call for artists, the four winning works of art are now part of the EPO art collection, with one work of art for each EPO site. They will remain a powerful symbol of the transition of the Office into the digital era.  

EPO Games: Building on the success of the 2023 edition, the EPO Games will be part of the Campus Days in 2024. They will contribute to team building and staff engagement.

Come and Clean the Green will be repeated in 2024, as local clean-up events are a great opportunity to get together with colleagues and support our local communities.

Some of our 50 leading tech voices will be featured in a series of podcasts on the latest developments in technology and sustainable innovation.

The short story competition also generated a podcast published at the beginning of 2024, which is helping to promote diversity and inclusion.

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