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Keisuke Watanabe is a patent attorney and President of the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA). He graduated in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Chiba Institute of Technology before joining the Hoei Patent Office. He was registered as a patent attorney in 1988 (No. 9682). From 2010 to 2011 he worked at the Ministry of the Treasury in the role of Expert Advisor on Customs. A JPAA council member from 1996 to 1997, he became an executive director in 2005 and was appointed as a vice president one year later, in 2006. Between 2011 and 2012, he was the Vice Director-General of JPAA Kanto and has been the President of the JPAA since 2017. As a patent attorney, the main fields he deals with are mechanics, designs and trade marks.
Principal Director User Support and Quality Management, EPO
Niclas joined the EPO in 1990 as a patent examiner in mechanics. From 2000 to 2004 he was Head of President's Office. He was then based for three years in Bangkok, at the Thai Ministry of Commerce within the premises of the Department of Intellectual Property. In 2008 he became Director of IP5/Trilateral Affairs and International Organisations. In 2016 he was made Director of International Co operation. In 2017 he was appointed as Principal Director of User Support and Quality Management, a position in which he leads a strategic support area dedicated to relationships with EPO users and management of the quality policy.
Director ICT, EPO
Christian graduated in electrical engineering and computer science from the Technical University in Vienna, Austria, in 1988. After developing microcontroller designs for industrial applications, he joined the EPO in 1990 as an examiner in the field of computer-implemented inventions, dealing with patent applications relating to processor architectures, memory management, medical informatics and business methods. Since 1996, he has been involved as a presenter, tutor and organiser in both the EPO's in-house training programme for examiners and seminars offered to outsiders. He has represented the EPO in co-operation activities with various European countries and in China, Taiwan, Singapore, the USA and Canada. He has also lectured at the ETH Zurich on the topic of patentability of business methods and computer-implemented inventions at the EPO. In 2005, he was appointed to the post of director in the area of ICT.
Legally qualified member, EPO boards of appeal
Ingo is Chairman of Technical Board of Appeal 3.2.07 (Mechanics) and a regular member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO. Before joining the EPO boards of appeal in 2007, he was a judge at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg, legal counsel to the Court's President in court management matters and legal counsel to the Constitutional Court of Hamburg. He also held a position outside the judiciary as press officer and deputy head of the office of the European Parliament in Germany. He has a doctorate in law and has published numerous books and articles on EU law, competition law and patent law, including Overview of the Appeal Proceedings according to the European Patent Convention.
European patent attorney, Withers & Rogers LLP, UK
Nick Wallin is the lead partner for the Electronics, Computing & Physics group, the largest practice group at Withers & Rogers LLP. He is also an experienced patent litigator who has handled cases before the UK Court of Appeal and High Court, and the EPO boards of appeal. He works for a wide range of clients, across a variety of fields, including geospatial data processing, electro-surgical instruments and medical imaging, sensors for defence purposes and the oil and gas industry. With a technical background in electronics, software and communications, he spent time working at BT labs in the fields of speech synthesis and video-conferencing before joining the patent profession in 1997. After qualifying as a European patent attorney, he then returned to BT for a period as in-house patent counsel before joining Withers & Rogers in 2004. He became a partner in the firm in 2006, and in 2008 successfully handled the Symbian v Comptroller General of Patents case, in which the patentability of computer operating systems was confirmed. Since then, he has specialised in developing and executing cost-effective IP procurement and development strategies for his clients, combining his in-house and private practice experience to provide an "outsourced in-house" IP counsel service for his clients.
Director Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry, EPO
Eve-Marie is a director at the EPO and is currently responsible for the patent grant process in the areas of healthcare/bioinformatics, physical therapy and dentistry. After having graduated in physics from the Technical University of Munich in 1997, she became a European patent attorney and worked for several years in the Patent Department at Siemens, where she prepared and prosecuted patent applications and advised several business units on all patent law issues. She joined the EPO in 2001 as a patent examiner and was appointed director in 2013. Since 2004 she has been an active member of the examination committee responsible for the legal paper of the European qualifying examination for patent attorneys.
European patent attorney, UK
After 18 years working as in-house counsel, George has recently returned to private practice. During his time at a well-known chip company in California, he was involved in all aspects of the patents business from preparation and prosecution, acquisition and licensing to litigation and settlement. He is actively involved in the current debate surrounding intellectual property rights and their economic effects on business. He works both through industry bodies and directly to provide decision-makers with observations and advice on proposed developments and changes in policy.
Vice President, JPAA
Masatoshi Kurata is a patent attorney and Vice President of the JPAA. He graduated in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in economics from Osaka University before joining the Sumitomo Corporation and registering, in 1996, as a patent attorney (No. 10885). He later joined the IP law firm Suzuye & Suzuye and graduated in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in engineering. From 2000 to 2001 he was registered as a US patent agent. A JPAA council member from 2004 to 2005, he was appointed as a vice president in 2018. As a patent attorney, the main field he deals with is electrics.