26 February 2020
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A delegation headed by the EPO President attended an international conference on challenges in intellectual property held in Zagreb last week under Croatia's EU Council presidency. The conference was opened by the Croatian Minister of Science and Education, Blaženka Divjak, the Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Darko Horvat; the Minister of Culture, Nina Obuljen Koržinek, and the Director General of the State intellectual Property Office, Ljiljana Kuterovac. Speakers and panellists included Executive Director of the EU Intellectual Property Office Christian Archambeau, and representatives of the World Intellectual Property Organization, European Commission and other leading European and Croatian organisations in the IP field.
In his opening address, EPO President António Campinos thanked the Croatian government for putting IP firmly on the agenda of the EU presidency. He emphasised the importance of international co-operation in responding to the rapid changes in the IP landscape due to an ever increasing number of applications, and the rise of technologies such as AI and blockchain. He stressed the need to ensure the delivery of high-quality, legally robust patents - which are the "cornerstone of the European patent system" - to bring about tangible benefits for users and the public.
"If we can keep quality high, if we can develop our IP systems to lead on new technologies, and act with impact, then I believe Europe can remain a home of innovation, with an EU patent and a Unified Patent Court, representing a true competitive advantage for Europe," Mr Campinos said.
The conference participants discussed topics such as support for SMEs, shaping IP policy to boost Europe's industrial competitiveness in the digital age, Standard Essential Patents and Artificial Intelligence, and the role of IP in fostering green technologies.
Ahead of the event, the EPO delegation also met with Minister Divjak to discuss co-operation between the EPO and Croatia, and how to further strengthen intellectual property protection to better support innovation and the economy.
Croatia has been a member of the European Patent Organisation since 1 January 2008. The EPO and Croatia's State intellectual Property Office are implementing a range of joint activities including professional training of patent office staff, qualification of professional representatives, strengthening of patent-related services to industry, raising awareness of the patent system, and improvement of IT tools and services. In 2018 Croatian inventors, companies and research institutions filed some 120 patent applications at the EPO, an increase of 26% over the previous year.