​​Supporting inventors at Europe’s largest startup fair

​​President Antonio Campinos speaking at Viva Technology 2024​

​This week in Paris, the European Patent Office (EPO) has reinforced its support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by attending Europe’s largest fair for technology startups, Viva Technology 2024 (22-25 May), in partnership with France’s National Intellectual Property Institute (INPI). During a series of workshops and presentations on free-of-charge EPO tools such as the Deep Tech Finder, which connects startups with potential investors, the EPO provided guidance and advice to help SMEs make the best possible use of the European patent system.

​Boosting growth in co-operation with the European Innovation Council

​EPO President António Campinos participated in a workshop today organised jointly with the European Innovation Council (EIC), the European Union’s largest funder of innovative SMEs, with whom the EPO co-operates closely to boost innovation in Europe.

​At the opening of the workshop, President Campinos said: ​“Never before has our future depended so much on new technologies coming to market. Put simply, society needs game-changing inventions: for tackling the climate crisis, cancer, clean water and much more besides. And we know that startups and their disruptive ideas have a big role to play. Patents can help to turn these disruptive ideas into a commercial reality. Your access to the patent system, and all its benefits, should be as seamless as possible. So we are reducing barriers and maximising support, so your products can get to market successfully, swiftly and securely.”

​Building on this statement, the session went on to cover various ways in which the EPO is reducing barriers and helping inventors bring their ideas to market. A focus of the discussion was the EPO’s free Deep Tech Finder tool, which contains the funding profiles of over 8 300 investment-ready startups in Europe blended with their patent portfolios, helping to connect them with potential investors. The EIC went on to explain the crucial role that patents can play in startups successfully securing funding, further illustrating the benefits of the Deep Tech Finder for SMEs.

​From patented invention to business success, with European Inventor Award finalists 

​Two further EPO workshops covered many of the free services that the EPO offers startups, including cutting-edge tools, guidance on the patent granting process and IP training. Highlights included an explanation of the basics of patentability, with a particular focus on computer-implemented inventions and artificial intelligence. An overview was offered of the recent 30% reduction in all main fees in the patent grant procedure, for which micro-entities may be eligible. There was also an introduction to the Unitary Patent, which reduces the costs and complexity of patent protection by providing a single right with a single annual renewal fee covering 17 EU states. During these workshops, European Inventor Award finalists Eimear O'Carroll and Joachim Fiedler described their journey from patented invention to business success.

​A recording of the workshops will be published shortly.​ 

​Experts from both the EPO and INPI are at Viva Technology 2024 for the rest of the week, and can be found at INPI’s booth, D48, where they will continue to answer questions and offer advice on all manner of patent-related topics.