Dialogue with our US applicants: annual meeting of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Council

20 November 2020

The 36th annual meeting of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Council took place yesterday (19 November), held for the first time as a virtual event.

The Liaison Council was created as a forum to facilitate exchange between the EPO and US applicants, who account for a quarter of the Office's users, the largest number from any single country. It serves to increase mutual understanding of European and US patent practice, and update members on recent developments on both sides of the Atlantic.

Some 27 US members attended this year's meeting, representing IP law associations and IP sections of state bar associations from across the country.

In his opening remarks, EPO Vice-President Steve Rowan welcomed the US participants, highlighting that the annual meeting is an excellent opportunity to receive direct feedback from our US users in order to better understand their needs. He also outlined recent measures put in place at the Office to support applicants during the pandemic.

EPO staff gave presentations on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, recent initiatives to increase quality, oral proceedings by videoconference, and plant and animal patentability following Opinion G 3/19 of the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

A lively exchange on Artificial Intelligence took place, with US members presenting a recent report published by the USPTO, Public Views on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Policy, and the Office addressing the issues from a European perspective, also drawing attention to the EPO's upcoming digital conference The role of patents in an AI driven world, which will take place on 17/18 December 2020.

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