Officials of the European Commission, Member states' permanent representations to the EU, and the European Parliament participated in a seminar organised by the EPO and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Brussels last week.
The seminar, which took place in Brussels on 13 and 14 November 2013, was the second in a series of inter-institutional training initiatives, launched last year by the European Patent Academy together with the OHIM Academy, targeting key players in public institutions across Europe. With a view to the upcoming Unitary patent and Unified patent court, it aimed to foster and promote better knowledge and understanding of IP issues and challenges, by providing essential facts and new insights to EU officials.
For the EPO's Brussels Bureau, working at the heart of the EU policy-making community on a daily basis, this seminar was also an opportunity to strengthen links with its existing network of contacts in EU institutions and to introduce the Office and its role to a broader EU audience.
Combining these two aspects, the seminar offered a forum to learn about and discuss the main current issues in the field of IP.
Around half of the 130 participants came from the European Commission (from the Directorate Generals Internal Market, Trade, Competition, Research, Agriculture, Connect...), who together with members of EU Permanent Representations in Brussels and the European Parliament constituted an attendance with particular interest in IP policy.
Discussions were extremely positive, involving patent and trademark law practitioners, economists, and law professors, as well as officials from the National Patent Offices.
EPO Vice President Raimund Lutz delivered the opening address together with Kerstin Jorna, Director Intellectual Property, DG Internal Market and Services at the European Commission.
Mr Lutz welcomed the recent developments, calling them an opportunity to shape "a new patent system for the future of Europe".
Other speakers included Paul Maier, Director of the EU Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights at OHIM, and Jérôme Debrulle, Head of the Belgian IP Office.
The main findings of the recent joint EPO-OHIM study on IPR-intensive industries were underlined, showing the essential contribution of IP and patents to the European economy.