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Tech Day 2022

Tech Day 2022


Tech Day is a celebration of innovation, learning and collaboration that takes place annually at the EPO. Primarily an internal event until now, Tech Day brings together teams of experts from across the Office to explore a technological theme of special significance.

The theme of Tech Day 2022 is technologies of transformation: those technologies developed in response to the most pressing global crises of our time with a view to sustaining planetary health - both human health and the health of our planet.

Given the all-embracing importance of our theme, day two of this year’s digital conference is open to the public for the first time. Expert speakers explore the new forms of collaboration taking place to extend the reach of sustainable innovation and scale it up across Europe to help deliver the European Green Deal and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Accelerating climate innovation is the topic of the keynote by Philipp Offenberg and Ben Gaddy of Breakthrough Energy. Leaders from the spheres of industry, academia and policy then gather for a roundtable on the common drivers and hurdles shaping efforts to secure a more sustainable future, at a time when many of the technologies required to achieve current climate targets are still in development. Finally, don't miss the new innovator-examiner dialogues on the latest sustainable innovation in the areas of e-wastefuel and chemical productionfood and vaccines.

Event details

Past event
13:00 - 18:00 h

Highlights of the conference

Full recording of the sessions - 16 February 2022


Please note that the time zone for the programme is CET.

Your moderators for Tech Day 2022 are:

Magdalena Kolasa, Lawyer, Patent Law: Opposition & Substantive Law, EPO
Kirsten Niebuhr-Ebel, Patent examiner, Biotechnology, EPO

13.00 - 13.15 hrs

Opening speech: Fostering innovation for planetary health

António Campinos, President of the EPO
As the race for sustainable innovation intensifies, the President explains how the EPO is stepping up its commitment to sustainability by deepening collaboration within the Office, as well as with local, regional and international partners. The aim: to minimise the EPO’s environmental impact while ensuring high-quality services and disseminating the latest patent knowledge on sustainable technologies. 


13.15 - 14.00 hrs

Keynote: Accelerating climate innovation

Philipp Offenberg, Senior Manager, Europe at Breakthrough Energy &
Ben Gaddy, Director, Breakthrough Energy Fellows

The European Green Deal, which aims to make the European Union climate-neutral by 2050, is now the driving force behind Europe scaling sustainable innovation. Breakthrough Energy is looking to ensure this happens in areas such as green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels, direct air capture and long-duration energy storage. Philipp Offenberg will talk through the challenges and opportunities involved in accelerating climate innovation. Ben Gaddy will highlight the Fellows programme which directly supports the innovators and entrepreneurs bringing these technologies to market.


14.00 - 15.00 hrs

Roundtable with Q&A: Technologies of Transformation

Innovation is key to the pursuit of environmental, economic and social sustainability. This session showcases success stories in energy, transport, materials science and resource management. The discussion explores the role of patents in fostering innovation across sectors, as well as how SMEs, global industry players and policymakers can help transform the technology landscape to deliver greater sustainability. 

James Nurton, editor and writer on intellectual property

Jane ní Dhulchaointigh, Inventor & Managing Director, Sugru
Simon Bennett, Energy Technology Analyst, International Energy Agency
Markus Lienkamp, Chair of Automotive Technology, TUM School of Engineering and Design, Technical University of Munich
Christoph Gürtler, Head of Catalysis Program, Covestro / RWTH Aachen University
Yann Ménière, Chief Economist, EPO 

Dialogues on sustainable innovation

15.00 - 15.15 hrs

Introduction to Dialogues on sustainable innovation

The EPO is one of the largest public service organisations in Europe, employing some 6 400 staff of 34 different nationalities. Of them, over 4 100 are highly qualified scientists and engineers working as patent examiners in all fields of technology. Ahead of the dialogues on sustainable innovation, your Tech Day moderators raise awareness of the high-quality services that patent examiners provide to thousands of innovators applying for patents each year. 

Dialogues on technologies for planetary health

15.15 - 15.45 hrs 

Resource management: Transforming e-waste
IGNEO's clean solution for transforming e-waste into sustainable metal concentrates makes this French company a leader in the field in Europe. Not only does the solution offer a sustainable approach to reducing the tens of millions of tons of e-waste that go unrecycled each year; it also neutralises the harmful emissions involved.

Yannick Baranowski, Site Manager, IGNEO

in conversation with EPO metallurgy examiners

Jan-Christoph Panitz and Valentina Morra

15.45 - 16.15 hrs

Lowering CO2 emissions: Towards green fuels & chemicals

Global CO2 emissions could be significantly reduced by compact new reactors for producing important chemicals such as hydrogen and ammonia, which are increasingly playing a key role in sustainable fuel solutions. The involvement of Danish chemicals company Haldor Topsoe in related cross-border projects illustrates the need for successful new partnerships that provide the know-how for helping to achieve current climate goals. To complete the picture, the dialogue will also cover patenting trends concerning green hydrogen production by water electrolysis.


Kim Aasberg-Petersen, R&D Director, Haldor Topsoe

in conversation with EPO patent examiners

Valérie Desbois and Karen Engelen

Dialogues on technologies for human health

16.15 - 16.45 hrs

Food: Plant-based meat

Livestock is estimated to account for around 14.5% of all man-made greenhouse gases. This is partly what is driving the current revolution in food. NOVAMEAT claims to have reinvented the art of creating plant-based meat and is currently scaling up production of its 3D-printed steak, manufactured using microextrusion technology (patent pending).

Giuseppe Scionti, Founder and CEO, NOVAMEAT
in conversation with EPO food examiners

Doris Krajewski and Dominika Baráč


16.45 - 17.15 hrs

Healthcare: New generation vaccines

An unexpected discovery by the firm’s founder led to CureVac becoming one of the first companies to successfully harness mRNA for medical purposes. Now engaged in several partnerships to broaden the reach of this breakthrough technology, the company is currently pursuing a new generation of vaccine against COVID-19.

Marcus Dalton, Vice President Intellectual Property & IP Licensing, CureVac
in conversation with EPO immunology examiners
Helena Domingues and Zoran Cilensek

17.15 - 18.00 hrs

Wrap-up and outlook
Luis Berenguer Giménez, Principal Director Communication and Spokesperson, EPO

Steve Rowan, Vice President Patent Granting Process, EPO
Nellie Simon, Vice President Corporate Services, EPO
Christoph Ernst, Vice President Legal / International Affairs

Speakers and panellists

Magdalena Kolasa
Lawyer Opposition & Substantive law, EPO

Magdalena studied law in Lodz and in Munich where she obtained her LLM in IP and PhD in trade secrets law. Before joining the Office in 2013, she spent several years in private practice and academia. At the EPO, she advises on oppositions and substantive patent law, with a focus on computer-implemented inventions and artificial intelligence. She has authored several publications on trade secrets.

Kirsten Niebuhr-Ebel
Patent Examiner Biotechnology, EPO
Confidential Counsellor, Ombuds Office, EPO

Kirsten has over 20 years' experience as a biotech examiner. Before joining the Office, she spent ten years in research at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Interpersonal coaching is one of her passions: as a certified business mediator and coach, she delivers presentations on communication and collaboration and is a confidential counsellor in the Ombuds Office.

Philipp Offenberg
Senior Manager Europe, Breakthrough Energy

Philipp built up his energy, climate action, and sustainability expertise while working in high-level public policy positions. Currently, he is the Breakthrough Energy Europe team manager in Brussels, where he oversees the team's research and development campaign, Germany strategy, and EU level programs. Before joining the team, he worked as an advisor on energy and climate policy in the strategy department of former European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. He has also worked as a research associate at the King's College in London and the Jacques Delors Institute in Berlin. In addition, Philip has obtained two master's degrees, one in public policy and another in communications and history.

Ben Gaddy
Director, Breakthrough Energy Fellow

Ben and the Breakthrough Energy Fellows team identify and support clean energy and climate innovators. Before joining, he spent four years in Chicago at the Clean Energy Trust, where he helped early-stage climate and energy companies bring their technologies to market. During his fellowship at the US Department of Energy, Ben researched the challenges cleantech start-ups face in scaling their innovations to manufacturing. He holds a PhD in materials science and engineering, a BS in electrical engineering, and an MBA.

James Nurton
Founding Director, Lextel Partners Ltd.

James is a writer and editor specialising in intellectual property. He worked for Managing Intellectual Property from 1996 to 2017 and was responsible for editorial content as well as events and awards dinners. He now writes for various publications and associations, including WIPO Magazine, IPWatchdog and Bloomsbury Legal, and has hosted episodes of the Talk Innovation and Talking MARQUES podcasts.

Jane ní Dhulchaointigh
Inventor & Managing Director, Sugru

Jane invented Sugru, the world's first mouldable glue. It is highly adhesive without becoming brittle, making it easy to fix everyday items and cut down on waste. Ní Dhulchaointigh grew up on a farm where replacing items was not easy. During her master's degree in product design, she hit on the award-winning idea for her invention. She founded a company and, together with her team, spent some 8 000 hours in the lab. In addition to a European Inventor Award, Time once listed Sugru as one of the world's best inventions.

Dr. Simon Bennett
Technology Analyst and Innovation Policy Lead, International Energy Agency

Simon is a technology analyst at the International Energy Agency. Before taking up the position, he worked as a researcher for various organisations and institutions, including the European Commission. With a decade of international experience in technical and policy-related aspects of energy, Simon now co-leads work on energy technology innovation policy and investment. In this role, he is responsible for tracking investment in demand-side topics and new technologies. Simon holds a PhD in environmental technology and energy policy from Imperial College London.

Prof. Dr. Markus Lienkamp
Chair of Automotive Engineering, TUM School of Engineering and Design

Markus researches and teaches electromobility, driver assistance systems and automated driving, and mobility data and mobility concepts. He is Director of Research at TUM's Munich School of Engineering, the Science Center for Electromobility, and Singapore's CREATE project. After studying mechanical engineering, Prof. Lienkamp then completed his doctorate. He began his career at Volkswagen (VW) as part of an international trainee program and worked on a joint venture between Ford and VW in Portugal. Upon returning to Germany, he led the brake testing department at VW's commercial vehicle development section. Later, he led the company's electronics and vehicle research department, where his priority was developing concepts for electromobility.

Dr. Christoph Gürtler
Head of Global Industry Academia Cooperations, Covestro Deutschland AG

Christoph studied chemistry and received his doctorate in 1996. After completing his postdoctoral studies, he worked at Bayer AG's Central Research department, initially in laboratory and project management. Dr Gürtler progressed through several positions and later worked under the board member responsible for research and development. In 2007, he co-founded the CAT Catalytic Center, an industry-academia collaboration between RWTH Aachen University and Covestro (former Bayer MaterialScience). Christoph is named inventor in over 170 patents, of which some 50 relate to carbon dioxide technology. Together with Walter Leitner and their team, he was a finalist at the 2021 European Inventor Award (Industry).

Yann Ménière
Chief Economist, EPO

Yann joined the EPO as Chief Economist in 2016. He has extensive experience providing economic insight into patent, innovation, and economic growth related issues, and regularly contributes high-level analysis to public and expert forums. Yann led the chair on IP and Markets for Technology at MINES ParisTech where he was previously a professor of economics.

Yannick Baranowski
Site Manager, Igneo

Yannick is the plant manager at Igneo, a French company that develops technology to transform raw e-waste into sustainable, high-quality metal concentrates. He studied at the University of Lille, where he obtained degrees in materials science and chemistry. Upon completing his studies in 2008, he embarked on a varied career and gained experience in several technical fields. Yannick has conducted research and development in the plastic and glass packaging industry, worked as a testing engineer focused on product quality, and managed a laboratory in the aerospace field.

Jan-Christoph Panitz
Patent Examiner and Team Manager Metallurgy, EPO

Jan-Christoph joined the EPO as an patent examiner in June 2007. Since 2016, he has worked in search and examination in the field of extractive metallurgy. Previously, he has worked at the Paul Scherrer Institut, and Chemetall GmbH, (now Albemarle), mainly on materials for lithium-ion batteries. He received a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Bayreuth.

Valentina Morra
Patent Examiner Metallurgy, EPO

Valentina began her career as a researcher and project leader in the aluminium and aerospace industry before joining the EPO in 2005. Currently, she works in the metallurgy field, with particular focus on the additive manufacturing of metal objects. Valentina is also chairperson in examination and opposition proceedings and passed the EQE in 2016.

Valérie Desbois
Patent Examiner, Electrochemistry, EPO

Valérie has been working as a patent examiner for 18 years at the EPO's site in The Hague and Munich. Currently, she works in the field of electrolysis. Before embarking on a career at the EPO, Valérie studied engineering at the INP Grenoble where she focussed on electrochemistry and material sciences.

Karen Engelen
Patent Examiner, Coatings, EPO

Karen joined the EPO as an patent examiner in 2003 and initially worked in the hydrogen field. More recently, she has focussed on thin film coatings. Through the European Patent Academy, she provides training for national patent offices and recently completed an internship with a patent attorney firm in The Hague.

Giuseppe Scionti
Founder & CEO, Novameat

Giuseppe is the inventor of the world's first 3D printed plant-based meat. He holds a PhD in biomedicine and master's degrees in tissue engineering and bioengineering. While working as an assistant professor and researcher, he designed and generated various 3D bioengineered tissue models, including muscle, bone, cartilage, cornea, skin, oral mucosa, peripheral nerve, tympanic membrane, and blood vessels implants. Giuseppe was named one of the "Nine Innovators to Watch in 2019" by the Smithsonian Magazine and is in demand as a keynote speaker, presenting at TEDx and conferences for European Parliament and the United Nations.

Dominika Baráč
Patent Examiner, Food, EPO

Dominika joined the EPO in 2008 as a patent examiner in food science and technology. She is a member of the centralised opposition department and chairs oral proceedings in opposition, an experienced trainer and moderator with the European Patent Academy and works for the European Co-operation department.

Dominika holds an engineering degree in food technology and passed the EQE in 2014.

Doris Krajewski
Patent Examiner, Food, member of the opposition directorate, EPO

Doris joined the EPO in 1997 after obtaining her PhD in food science. For over two decades, she has worked predominantly in food technology and science, where she has been responsible for searches, examination and opposition. In addition, she is gérant (chief classifier) in several areas and provides external training for the European Patent Academy. In 2021, Doris passed the EQE.

Marcus Dalton
Vice President Patents, CureVac

Marcus is an expert UK and European attorney with over 36 years of experience in the profession. He is currently Vice President of intellectual property at CureVac, a company that develops therapies based on mRNA. Prior to joining, he spent the majority of his career at GSK or its legacy companies, where he worked mainly in vaccine development. For nearly 20 years, Martin was Vice President and later head of GSK's vaccine patent group. His work focusses on all patent-related aspects, including intellectual property due diligence and collaborative and licensing agreements.

Helena Domingues
Patent examiner and Team Manager, Immunology, EPO

Helena joined the EPO as a patent examiner in 2000 and worked in various technical fields including biotechnology and in pharmacy. For the past 12 years she has worked in the immunology field, also taking up the role of Team Manager. Helena is actively involved in search, examination and opposition proceedings.

Zoran Cilensek
Patent Examiner, Immunology, EPO

Zoran received his PhD from the UIC in Chicago and worked at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry. Since joining the EPO in 2006, he has worked as a patent examiner in the field of immunology, where he is responsible for search, examination and opposition proceedings. Zoran passed the EQE in 2013.

Luis Berenguer Giménez
Principal Director Communications, EPO

Luis joined the EPO in 2019 to lead the newly formed Principal Directorate Communication. During an extensive career spanning almost three decades, he has practised industrial property law, taught postgraduate courses, served as a commercial law professor, and worked as a legal advisor in the Geographical Indications field.

Steve Rowan
Vice President Patent Granting Process, EPO

Steve joined the EPO in 2019 and as Vice President is responsible for the Patent Grant Process, PD User Support and Quality Management, and managing the EPO site in The Hague. He graduated with an LLB (Hons) and during his career has helped steer IP policy issues in government and served on several executive boards.

Nellie Simon
Vice President Corporate Services, EPO

Nellie joined the EPO in January 2019, having previously held the post of Chief of Staff and acting head of the Academy at the EUIPO. She contributed to the strategic planning of the Office and the EUIPO's digital transformation. Nellie holds a degree in computer science as well as an MBA.

Christoph Ernst
Vice President Legal / International Affairs, EPO

Christoph was appointed Vice President for Legal and International Affairs in 2019. Before accepting the position, he was a directorate head at the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and has served as Chair of the Administrative Council of the European Patent OrganisationHe began his career as an attorney in Bremen, focusing on commercial, economic, and tax law.

Recordings: EPO Tech Day 2022: Technologies of Transformation