​​​EPO mission to Thailand, Australia and Singapore

Following the recent visit to Laos, the EPO visited the IP Offices and its stakeholders in Thailand, Australia and Singapore. Between 21 and 29 November, a delegation led by President Campinos met with heads of office, policymakers, user associations, patent professionals, academics and IP stakeholders. Throughout the mission, delegates were able to share best practices, participate in IP events, discuss cooperation initiatives, and exchange on topics of common interest such as artificial intelligence, sustainability, underrepresentation in IP and support for SMEs. The mission also enabled the EPO to provide updates on its forthcoming strategic plan, the Unitary Patent, the 50th anniversary of the EPC and the Observatory.


The EPO President met with Vuttikrai Leewiraphan, Director General of the Thai Department of Intellectual Property (DIP). After updating the DIP on the Unitary Patent, Observatory and EPC’s 50th anniversary, the EPO underlined the benefits of the validation system and further exchanges will be continued at the technical level.

The EPO highlighted long-standing cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and offered to support additional activities including a study comparing patent law and practices in computer implemented inventions, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. 


The EPO delegation met with Director General Michael Schwager at IP Australia’s headquarters in Canberra. The organisations have built a robust partnership, starting with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2007 and evolving through the EPOQUE Net agreement in 2013, the Patent Prosecution Highway in 2016 and the adoption of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme in 2018.  

Following a review of their current bilateral cooperation activities, the EPO and IP Australia discussed options for broadening their long-standing ties in future. President Campinos and Director General Schwager later signed a new MoU on technical cooperation and biennial Work Plan outlining the activities that will be implemented in the course of 2024 and 2025.  

During the Canberra visit, the EPO President and Nellie Simon, EPO Vice -President Corporate Services also addressed IP Australia staff and underlined the need for a more transparent, accessible and inclusive patent system that fosters the best possible conditions for the emergence of new technologies. 

The Melbourne Law School and Institute of Patent and Trademark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA) invited President Campinos to deliver the annual Francis Gurry lecture on IP in Sydney and Melbourne. At the 15th edition, the President spoke on sustainable societies and the patent system’s role in supporting them. He emphasised that quality, accessibility, knowledge, awareness and cooperation in the patent system were essential to support the emergence of new technologies. There was high interest from the audience about the EPO efforts to conclude new validation agreements in Southeast Asia.  

In addition to policymakers, the EPO met with several key stakeholders and user association representatives during the mission. These included top applicants, patent professionals and academics from various research institutions across Australia. During these sessions, the EPO presented patent trend statistics relevant to Australian applicants, updated on recent developments such as the launch of the Unitary patent system and outlined its approach to quality, digital transformation, sustainability and cooperation both in the European and international context.  


The EPO mission drew to a close after a meeting with the IP Office of Singapore (IPOS). President Campinos and Rena Lee, IPOS Chief Executive, shared perspectives on IP valuation and investment, with the EPO outlining the role of the Observatory and the Deep Tech Finder in these areas. Delegates also discussed IP education and awareness, highlighting the initiatives each office undertakes in making the IP system work for innovators, entrepreneurs and young people. 

President Campinos – EPO – and Director General Schwager – IP Australia – after the signature of a MoU on technical cooperation

President Campinos – EPO – and Director General Schwager – IP Australia – after the signature of a MoU on technical cooperation.

Bilateral Heads meeting with IPOS

Bilateral Heads meeting with IPOS
From left to right: Heng Yiwei and Ng Wei Ming – IPOS International Engagement Department, Sandra Wu - IPOS Principal Assistant Director, International Engagement; Alfred Yip – IPOS Director International Engagement; Rena Lee – IPOS Chief Executive, António Campinos – EPO President, Nellie Simon – EPO Vice- President Corporate Services, Madeleine Schieck – EPO President´s Office, Stephanie Albiez – EPO International Relations.