EPO broadens reach during Irish mission

Steve Rowan visits Ireland

Vice-President Patent Granting Process, Steve Rowan meets new Irish Minister of State for the Department of Enterprise, the Irish Association of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, as well as the representatives of the generic pharmaceutical sector.

On 10 and 11 June 2024, Steve Rowan, Vice-President Patent Granting Process, visited Ireland to meet the new Irish Minister of State for the Department of Enterprise and engage with the Irish Association of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (APTMA). The mission concluded with a keynote address at the annual meeting of the Medicines for Europe Legal Affairs Conference.

This series of meetings was an important opportunity to promote the EPO's work, open new channels for feedback and to enhance co-operation both with Irish stakeholders, and with the wider community of European pharmaceutical companies represented by Medicines for Europe. This mission is a strong example of the EPO's commitment to expanding its reach and cultivating stronger links with a diverse range of users.

First meeting with Minister of State Emer Higgins, Department of Enterprise

In his first meeting with the newly appointed Minister of State, Emer Higgins, Steve Rowan stressed the EPO's commitment to fostering innovation and supporting creators, industry and SMEs across the European landscape.

The meeting focused on the robust co-operation between the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland (IPOI) and the EPO, and a shared dedication to supporting innovation in Ireland. The EPO Vice -President also took the opportunity to update on the strong first year of the Unitary Patent, and to share the benefits of the system both for Irish users and for the Irish economy. While the Irish government has expressed its support, the public referendum aimed at ratifying the Unitary Patent has been postponed, with an alternative date yet to be scheduled.

Meeting with the Irish Association of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys (APTMA)

Steve Rowan also met with representatives from APTMA to discuss the EPO's various initiatives and gather valuable user perspectives. In addition to emphasising the EPO's dedication to quality and taking the opportunity to share our Quality Action Plan, KPIs and Quality dashboard, he provided an update on the EPO’s planned MyEPO and Front Office enhancements. Steve Rowan then took questions in an open forum. This constructive exchange was a good example that a strong patent system is a shared journey between users and the EPO. Such meetings also help us to ensure EPO services continue to respond to the evolving needs of all users.

Keynote Speech at the Medicines for Europe Annual Legal Affairs Conference

The EPO Vice-President rounded off his mission with a keynote speech to representatives of the generic pharmaceutical sector. In his talk, he focused on the EPO's strategic vision, and emphasised the importance of patent quality, timeliness, and the uptake of the Unitary Patent system. He emphasised that patent quality is a shared journey, and that continuous collaboration and involvement of all stakeholders in the system's performance is essential. Steve Rowan stressed that: “The EPO listens to feedback received from stakeholders, users and international partners. And we also act on it.”