​​18th Annual Meeting with Member States​

​​18th Annual Meeting with Member States​

The 18th Annual Meeting for the European Patent Network took place in Vilnius, Lithuania on 7 May, the first co-operation meeting under the new, unanimously adopted strategic plan (SP2028). Irina Urbonė, Director of Lithuania’s State Patent Bureau, welcomed delegates, who were then addressed by Lithuania's Vice Minister of Justice Jurga Greičienė and President of the European Patent Office (EPO) António Campinos.

In his opening remarks, President Campinos emphasised the value of the European Patent Network as a unique model for multilateral co-operation: “A blueprint from which regions the world over can learn from and draw inspiration. Through our network, we have the vision, the capacity and the ability to reach right across the inventor spectrum, and mobilise the critical mass of diverse talent needed to address the sustainability challenge confronting us all.”

Vice Minister of Justice Jurga Greičienė emphasised the need to be prepared for the future: “All of us, and all of our patent offices, must be ready for new tech challenges and continue supporting businesses in protecting their intellectual assets.”

The meeting provided an invaluable opportunity to develop further the catalogue of co-operation projects with member states. These projects will help ensure that the EPO continues to support the national patent offices in delivering benefits for stakeholders and contributing to an impactful European patent system.

Key topics shaping our approach to co-operation

During interactive panel discussions involving the member states, EPO delegation and local startups, key topics were addressed that will shape our approach to co-operation in the years ahead. Topics such as:

  • Shaping the future of digital patenting services: Discussions confirmed that this will remain a key area of co-operation, especially given the gains in accuracy and efficiency achieved to date through digital transformation and the integration of AI into classification and search tools. Turning to IT co-operation, the importance of topics such as interoperability and cybersecurity was underlined.  
  • Outreach to secondary school students and young people: It was agreed that inspiring a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in children across our member states is essential to the long-term sustainability of innovation in Europe. Co-operation on the development of supporting materials for teachers and learners alike, as well as innovation contests, is key and can benefit from the European Inventor Network launched last July.  
  • Support for startups: Further updates were provided on the successful launch of the Observatory on Patents and Technology, including its inaugural event, entitled “Boosting startups with intellectual property” and new initiatives involving experts from the national patent offices. With a view to strengthening co-operation on IP support for startups, two local startups engaged in a lively discussion about the role of IP rights and IP strategy in realising the full potential of their enterprises.

Looking ahead to the next five years, the European Patent Network remains committed to excellence, adaptability and sustainability in its operations, as the renewed vision for the Office under SP2028 focuses on sustainability as its central goal.