17 December 2020

15.00 hrs

Event moderator: tbc

Welcome to an AI driven world: Challenges, opportunities and IP strategy

António Campinos, President of the EPO

European Commissioner (tbc)

15.15 hrs

Panel discussion
IP5 initiatives on AI and New Emerging Technologies

The IP5 offices are estimated to handle ca. 85% of all patent applications worldwide. With that comes a responsibility to advance the integration of the global patent system and tackle issues of strategic importance.

Irene Schellner, International Co-operation, EPO   

(to be confirmed)

16:00 hrs 

Latest trends in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies

A presentation of the latest EPO study to provide users of the European patent system and the broader public with insights about the major technology trends that underpin 4IR globally.

Yann Ménière
, Chief Economist, EPO

Round table discussion

What are the issues around patenting AI?

A disruptive field like AI raises questions about what can be patented and how. EPO legal and procedural specialists discuss with patent practitioners the latest EPO guidelines and cases, including where AI was named as the inventor (DABUS).

Rachel Free, European Patent Attorney, CMS
Paul Gagnon, Senior Legal Counsel, Element AI
Heli Pihlajamaa, Director Patent Law, EPO
Yasemin Türkeli, Procedural Support, EPO

Yann Ménière, Chief Economist, EPO


AI already speaks the language of patents

Data scientists at the EPO use AI to optimise procedures and support the staff in some tasks. But it is clear that AI can go further still.  

Alexander Klenner-Bajaja, Head of Data Science, EPO


17.15 hrs
Panel discussion
Learning about AI and IP
Education leads to a better understanding of the impact of AI on patenting activity and the broader IP landscape. Bernt Hugenholtz and Jean-Marc Deltorn share their expert knowledge and insights from targeted education programmes on AI and IP.  


Xavier Seuba, Director, European Patent Academy 


Bernt Hugenholtz, Professor of Law and Co-Director of IViR, University of Amsterdam 

Jean-Marc Deltorn, Senior Researcher, CEIPI Strasbourg    

18 December 2020

10.00 hrs

Event moderator: tbc

Highlights of Day 1

10.15 hrs
From patent to business success 

In conversation with AI and machine learning specialist Nicolas Douarche, the British inventor Steve Lindsey charts the path from patenting his revolutionary new compressor to the development of a smart factory. 

Steve Lindsey,CEO Lontra   

Nicolas Douarche, Team Manager  EPO  

10.30 hrs 4IR networking: European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS)

Europe has great talent in the field of machine learning and AI. Nuria Oliver presents ELLIS, a diverse European network that promotes research excellence and break throughs in AI  with the aim of boosting economic growth.  

Nuria Oliver, Co-founder and Vice-president of ELLIS  

11.00 hrs
Creative break - Let AI talk

Following a screening of the 2017 short film Our Friends Electric, which explores the near future of voice-enabled AI, EPO examiner Anton Versluis discusses the sophisticated collaborative process behind the finished product with the film-maker.

Representative from Superflux (tbc)

Anton Versluis, Team Manager EPO

11.15 hrs

European AI strategy: Focus on innovation

Juha Heikkilä, Head of AI unit, DG CNECT, European Commission
Panel discussion 
Making Europe a global leader in innovation in the data economy
Following public consultation, the European Commission is developing an AI strategy. But how to put theory into practice so that innovation in Europe thrives? Will the question of data ownership be resolved by policy changes?
Panagiotis Rigopoulos, European and International Legal Affairs, EPO   

Juha Heikkilä, Head of AI unit, DG CNECT, European Commission
Stéphane Séjourné, European Parliament   
Clara Neppel, European Business Operations, IEEE  
Two representatives from the National Patent Offices (tbc)
EUIPO representative  


 12.30 hrs

Closing words

Nellie Simon, Vice-President for Corporate Services, EPO

Speakers' profiles

Irene Schellner
Project Coordinator, International Co-operation, EPO

Irene joined the EPO in 1994 and initially worked as a Japanese and Asian patent information specialist. In 2012, Irene joined International Co-operation where she has since been in charge of coordinating co-operation projects between the EPO and the EPO’s Trilateral and IP5 partner offices. She has worked on several EPO strategic project proposals including the creation of the IP5 NET/AI task force.

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Yann Ménière
Chief Economist, EPO

Yann joined the EPO as Chief Economist in 2016. He has many years of experience of providing economic insights into issues relating to patents, innovation and economic growth. He contributes high-level expertise and analysis to public and expert forums on a regular basis. Yann led the chair on IP and Markets for Technology at MINES ParisTech where he was previously a professor of economics and lectured on the economics of IP.

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Alexander Klenner-Bajaja

Head of Data Science, BIT, EPO

Alexander joined the EPO in 2014 as member of a cross-functional IT team. In 2019, he became the head of the newly created Data Science department. The data science team is creating solutions using artificial intelligence to solve challenges in the patent grant process such as automated classification of applications and automated prior art search.

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Rachel Free

European Patent Attorney, CMS

Rachel Free is a partner at an international law firm and a UK and European patent attorney. She holds both an MSc in Artificial Intelligence and a DPhil in vision science. Rachel is also a member of the House of Lords all party parliamentary group that advises parliamentarians on AI.

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Paul Gagnon
Senior Legal Counsel, Element AI

Paul is an expert in data licensing and open-source software. His work at the Montreal-born AI company includes strategic IP matters and negotiation of strategic partnerships. He lectures at the Université de Sherbrooke Law Faculty and his academic research includes the co-creation of the Montreal Data License.

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Heli Pihlajamaa
Director of Patent Law, EPO

Heli Pihlajamaa has assisted extensively with EPO policy by developing, strengthening and promoting the EPC, including proposals for legal changes, compliance of operations with patent law-related norms and case law. She also advises senior EPO management on policy issues and legal amendments. Before joining the EPO, she worked in both the private and public sectors in Finland.

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Yasemin Türkeli

Procedural Support, EPO

Yasemin has been with the EPO since 2003 and worked as an examiner in bioinformatics, business methods and payment systems. Currently, she is tasked with designing procedures, drafting work instructions, and answering procedural questions. Yasemin passed the EQE in 2011 and is a member of the CII guidelines working group.

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Jean-Marc Deltorn

Senior Researcher, CEIPI

Jean-Marc worked as a patent examiner at the EPO in the ICT sector from 2003 to May 2020 and was a member of the EPO guidelines working group on CII. He then joined the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) to study the relationship between AI and the legal norms.

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Xavier Seuba

European Patent Academy, Director, EPO

Xavier joined the EPO in June 2020 as Director Patent Academy and EQE. He had previously been Academic and Scientific Coordinator at CEIPI (Center for International Intellectual Property Studies) and Vice Dean of the Law Faculty of UOC, among other responsibilities in higher education and academia.

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Steve Lindsey

CEO, Lontra

Steve was nominated for a European Inventor Award in 2017. His invention, a new type of rotary air compressor, offers substantial energy saving benefits and represents a shift in thinking when it comes to traditional manufacturing methods. He recently opened the UK’s first smart factory, where AI powered machines reduce waste, improve sustainability, and increase productivity.

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Nicolas Douarche

Team manager, EPO

Nicolas holds a PhD in physics. He joined the EPO as a patent examiner in 2007, working in AI/machine learning and quantum computing. For the past five years, he has been leading teams in these areas as well as other technical domains. Before joining the Office, his research was focussed on the interface between statistical physics and biology.

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Nuria Oliver

Vice President and Co-Founder, ELLIS

Nuria is a computer scientist with over 25 years of research experience in Artificial Intelligence, Human Computer Interaction and Mobile Computing at MIT. She was the first female Scientific Director at Telefonica R&D, the first Director of Research in Data Science at Vodafone and the first Chief Data Scientist at DataPop Alliance. She is vice-president and co-founder of ELLIS and co-founder of the Alicante ELLIS unit that is devoted to research on "Human(ity)-centric Artificial Intelligence". Nuria has 40 patent applications and granted patents to her name.

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Anton Versluis

Team Manager, EPO

Anton joined the EPO the Hague in 2006 as a patent examiner in the field of Pattern Recognition and Computer Vision. He worked at TNO, the Dutch research institution, on computer vision for robotic arms and as organisational advisor. Anthon graduated in Pattern Recognition at the faculty of Applied Physics of the Delft University, the Netherlands.

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Juha Heikkilä

Head of AI unit, DG CNECT, European Commission

Since 2014, Juha has been the Head of the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence unit in the European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology, which develops the Commission policy and activities in AI. Previously, Juha was involved in computational and corpus linguistic research at the University of Helsinki, and he has a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge.

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Panagiotis Rigopoulos

Lawyer, European and International Legal Affairs, PCT, EPO

Panos joined the EPO as a lawyer in 2003 and currently deals with policy and legal aspects of the Office’s international co-operation. He has extensive experience with international patent harmonisation as well as with the development and implementation of work-sharing initiatives at the EPO, such as the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH).

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Stéphane Séjourné

Member of the European Parliament

Stéphane chairs the Renaissance delegation within the Renew Europe group. He is a full member of the Legal Affairs (JURI) and Artificial Intelligence (AIDA) committees. Since joining the European Parliament, Stéphane has been heavily involved in digital issues and the field of AI in particular. In 2020, his report on intellectual property in the age of AI was well-received by Parliament and his proposal adopted in October for the Commission to conduct an impact assessment on the implications of AI and related technologies under the current system of Intellectual property rights.

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Clara Neppel

Senior Director, IEEE

Clara is responsible for the IEEE’s growth in Europe, focusing on industry, academia, and government. She joined IEEE after many years with the EPO where she was involved in aspects relating to innovation, IP and public policy in ICT. She co-authored publications on the patentability of CII and on future IP system scenarios.

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Bernt Hugenholtz

Professor of law and Co-Director of the Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

Bernt is Professor of law and Co-Director of the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam. He is also a professor at the University of Bergen, Norway, and regularly teaches at the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center. He is one of Europe’s leading scholars in the field of copyright and has acted as an advisor to the World Intellectual Property Organization, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Netherlands Ministry of Justice.

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Nellie Simon

Vice-President for 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 from London Business School.

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