10 February 2021
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The European Patent Office (EPO) and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) on 4 February 2021 to offer TUM graduates the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience as trainees in both Offices. Signed by EPO President António Campinos, EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau and TUM President Thomas Hofmann, the agreement adds the TUM to the Pan-European Seal Professional Traineeship Programme, a vibrant network of over 80 academic institutions across Europe with a pronounced interest in intellectual property (IP).
"In these challenging times, it is more important than ever to invest in the IP minds of tomorrow so that they can act as ambassadors for IP and the benefits it brings," said EPO President António Campinos. "University innovation and research activities are key to securing technological progress and addressing society's most pressing challenges. A solid knowledge of IP protection and its benefits are essential in creating additional social and economic value."
Thomas F. Hoffmann, TUM President said: "We firmly believe that close cooperation among the stakeholders in the IP community will lead to mutual benefits and ultimately to the benefit of society through the commercialization of technologies, which in turn leads to the development of innovative products and solutions to technical problems, generates revenue, and creates jobs. Supported by its entrepreneurial mindset, TUM has substantially increased the numbers of applications for European patents in recent years."
The Pan European Seal Professional Traineeship Programme is a framework for strategic co-operation between the two IP offices and European universities that is designed to foster a modern IP culture throughout Europe. The Programme seeks to enhance education on IP and to bridge the gap between academia and the labour market. Jointly organised by the EPO and EUIPO, the Programme targets leading European educational institutions as strategic partners, and offers 100 paid one-year professional traineeships at the EPO to high-achieving university graduates every year. It gives graduates the opportunity to experience work in a collaborative, multicultural environment, undertake challenging assignments, and build their professional networks.
The extension of the Programme partnerships to include Europe's leading technical universities is an important step in promoting the integration of IP into technical and scientific education. University innovation and research activities are key to securing technological progress with a view to effectively addressing the most pressing challenges for society. A solid knowledge of IP protection and its benefits are essential to creating further social and economic value.
By joining the network, TUM's longstanding efforts in raising IP awareness will be further complemented by a range of dedicated IP training and promotion measures. As members of the Programme, TUM graduates will be eligible to apply for a traineeship already this year.
The deepening of its institutional ties with TUM supports the EPO's policy of enhancing its relations with local institutions, which is a key strategic objective of the Office. In this respect, the agreement illustrates the dedication of the EPO to creating close ties with the local community and assuming its social responsibility towards young people. The EPO, together with TUM and other local institutions and industry, forms a part of Munich's innovation ecosystem, and is committed to expanding its role by sharing its technical knowledge and expertise with the local community. The trainee programme with TUM is an important element in this approach.