Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the EPC


This year, the European Patent Office (EPO) celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the European patent system. With the signing of the European Patent Convention (EPC) in Munich on 5 October 1973, the founders ushered in a new era of economic and technological development, the course of which continues to shape our lives today. 

The EPO's special programme of events in 2023, initial details of which have been published today, 16 January, is designed to honour the vision of the founders, who wished to see closer co-operation between European states benefit innovation and support peace and prosperity. 

  • Furthermore, the celebrations serve as a tribute to the efforts of all stakeholders. Their collaboration and engagement have enabled the EPO to maintain its commitment to excellence in the digital age and will help to meet the changing needs of innovators with the highest quality products and services in the future.  

Finally, as the race for sustainable inventions accelerates, several activities aim to raise awareness of the crucial role that the European patent system plays in protecting technological ingenuity for a more sustainable world. 

Sharing the story so far, inspiring young people, fostering diversity and inclusion

Among the diverse activities created by a taskforce of EPO staff volunteers, programme highlights include: 

  • An international symposium - On 5 October 2023, fifty years to the day after the signing of the EPC, a hybrid international symposium will take place involving all EPO sites and many expert speakers. One of the principle aims of this event is to raise awareness of the latest advances in sustainable innovation. 
  • A documentary film - The EPO will release a documentary film and launch an exhibition about the EPO's history that also brings the organisation's art collection into play.  
  • New artwork - New artwork will be unveiled in our buildings as a testament to everyone who has helped advance the Office's digital transformation in recent years. This follows the EPO's recent call for artists to propose how they would turn our old paper-based patent files into works of art for public display, and an expert jury selecting the best proposals.  
  • Educational activities - Inspiring educational materials for schools and children will be made available across the EPO's 39 member states, and a kids' collaborative art competition launched, to help spark young people's curiosity about the world of inventors. 
  • Diversity and inclusion - A wide range of staff sporting events will be held internally with an Olympic spirit and a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.

Be sure to check the webpage directly below throughout the year for further news and updates.

Further information: 

50 years of the European Patent Convention

EPO members states