Intellectual property in the digital age in focus at conference held under Portugal’s EU Presidency

12 February 2021

Intellectual property in the digital age in focus at conference held under Portugal’s EU Presidency

EPO President António Campinos spoke about the importance of supporting innovation at the opening of a high-level online conference on IP held on 11 February on the occasion of Portugal's EU Council Presidency. The event, entitled "The Intellectual Property Metamorphosis in the Digital Transition Age", was organised by the Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), with the support of the European Commission, European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the EPO, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

In his welcome address, the EPO President underlined that innovation and intellectual property play a central role in the fight against the pandemic and in Europe's economic recovery. He stressed the need to support inventors and businesses to help them bring new technologies to market - by ensuring they receive high-quality, timely patents, and are equipped with the knowledge and tools to use patents and IP effectively.

He also highlighted the importance of moving forward on the Unitary Patent, which aims to provide cost-effective patent protection and greater legal certainty across 25 member states: "The Unitary Patent will make Europe even more attractive for innovation and investors - at a time when we need it the most."

INPI President Ana Bandeira highlighted that the digital transformation, which will be a key driver for economic recovery bringing together citizens and services to bridge distances, requires intellectual property to have the same pace of change and adaptation as that technological and commercial revolution. "In this scenario, the value of intangible assets exceeds the value of tangible assets," she said.

Other speakers opening the event included Portugal's Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem, Minister of State for the Economy and the Digital Transition  Pedro Siza Vieira, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education Manuel Heitor, Minister of Culture Graça Fonseca, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, WIPO Director General Daren Tang, and EUIPO Executive Director Christian Archambeau.

The conference aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of protecting industrial property rights, and promote innovative solutions, with a particular focus on green technologies and artificial intelligence.

The programme included roundtable discussions on innovation at universities and in the private sector, and lectures by the European Commission on its Intellectual Property Action Plan, WIPO on the future role of AI, the EUIPO on upgrading the European IP landscape, the EPO on building a European patent system and network with a global impact, and the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office on innovation in medical devices. It also included a keynote speech from Nova Lisbon University researcher and 2016 European Inventor Award finalist Elvira Fortunato.

More than 1 000 participants from government, academia, patent offices, and the IP profession from around Europe registered to follow the event online.

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