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18 October 2018
The 34th annual meeting of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Council took place at the EPO's Munich headquarters on Friday, 12 October 2018. Created as a forum to facilitate exchange with US applicants who form 26% of the Office's user base, the largest from any single country, the Liaison Council brings together US stakeholders and EPO officials for a full-day meeting.
President Campinos welcomed the US participants and, in his opening remarks, emphasised the annual meeting with US Bar representatives is highly valuable for better understanding the needs of US users. He also invited them to participate in a consultation that will take place in due course on the Office's future strategy.
EPO staff gave presentations on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, Patent Cooperation Treaty Strategy, projects being undertaken by the IP5 (the forum of the five largest intellectual property offices), substantive patent law harmonisation, standard essential patents, Early Certainty and computer-implemented inventions (CII) in view of developments relating to Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. The US members updated Office staff on current developments in US patent legislation and litigation.
The US members were appreciative of the initiatives under Early Certainty, and found the validation and reinforced cooperation systems very attractive. The US users also emphasised that they continued to perceive high quality levels at the EPO. In addition, they expressed their hope that the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court would soon become a reality, as well as satisfaction with the Office's predictable practice, in particular with regard to CII. They also expressed support for obtaining greater flexibility in the timing of the patent grant procedure.