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21 May 2020
At an international conference today on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia, delegates paid tribute to the country's achievements in building up a solid intellectual property (IP) system, and discussed the importance of IP in supporting future innovation and economic growth.
The conference, "Intellectual Property - Vision Without Illusion", held as a livestreamed, virtual event due to the coronavirus pandemic, was organised by the Latvian Patent Office in co-operation with the EPO, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It attracted a broad range of participants from industry, academia, politics and the IP profession from around Europe, and featured opening addresses by Latvian dignitaries and the heads of WIPO, EUIPO and EPO.
Opening the conference, the President of the Republic of Latvia, Egils Levits, said that great inventions and innovations come from an environment where ideas meet opportunities to realise them: "I am convinced that the future of our country must be based on our intellectual potential, both creative and innovative," he said.
The Minister of Justice, Jānis Bordāns, echoed this sentiment in his remarks: "Latvia is consistently moving towards a knowledge-based economy. [...] All those who have contributed to the development of high-quality technological processes, devices and substances, both in domestic and large companies, have created and continue to create the story of Latvia as we know it today."
The Director of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia, Sandris Laganovskis, stressed: "It is important to keep pace with the times and develop modern solutions in order to provide maximum support to Latvian innovators not only locally, but also globally."
EPO President António Campinos congratulated the management and staff of the Latvian Patent Office on its centenary and underlined the country's strength in innovation, citing the example of Latvian inventors who have made outstanding contributions in their fields. Looking to the future, he said: "As we face the economic aftermath of coronavirus, and forecasts of negative growth, it is IP-rights intensive industries that will help us to pull through this crisis."
Highlighting the benefits of co-operation between the EPO and Latvia, which has been a member state since 1 July 2005, and of co-operation among all of Europe's patent offices, he said: "As a result of these efforts...the quality of our patents is higher, nationally and throughout Europe. The amount of patent information and technical and scientific knowledge is greater than ever before. And by working together, our scientists and researchers have greater access to that information."
The conference went on to explore the impact of intellectual property on the economy, featuring speakers from WIPO, the OECD and the private sector. Another session focused on emerging technologies, including keynotes from the EPO, private sector and universities, and the event rounded off with a panel discussion on IP and youth.
A video recording of the event will be made available on the conference website.