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12 December 2016
EPO President Benoît Battistelli was in Zagreb on 9 December for a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of Croatia's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Prior to the event, the EPO President met with Croatia's Deputy Minister of Science and Education Krešo Zadro. Among the topics discussed were the importance of good links between university research and industry, and the possibility of Croatia joining the future unitary patent, which is expected to enter into force in 2017.
In his keynote speech, the EPO President congratulated the Croatian IP office on its anniversary and paid tribute to the speed with which it had become established, "demonstrating a willingness to deliver quickly the patents and IP services that Croatian inventors needed".
The event also highlighted the co-operation between the EPO and Croatia since it became a member of the European Patent Organisation in 2008. The EPO and the Croatian IP office, currently led by Director Ljiljana Kuterovac, are implementing a range of joint activities in the areas of professional training, patent awareness and IT tools, having signed a new two-year co-operation plan earlier this year.
President Battistelli also addressed the unitary patent, and the positive economic impact this is expected to have on European industry. "For the participating member states, the benefits are clear: The unitary patent system will simplify the protection of inventions and bring down costs for business; it will also mean a uniform litigation system and greater legal certainty," he said.
He called on Croatia to consider signing and ratifying the agreement on the Unified Patent Court so that Croatian inventors could benefit fully from this new form of patent protection, which will be valid in up to 26 EU member states.