11 June 2021
The annual meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee before the EPO took place online for the second year running, on 8 and 9 June 2021. The 53rd meeting of SACEPO presented the opportunity for EPO President Antonio Campinos to welcome all newly appointed members in their new term of office which started in January and will last until December 2023. Membership of SACEPO has been greatly extended this year with representatives from European and international IP associations such as AIPPI, FEMIPI, FICPI, UNION-IP as well as members from national patent attorney and industry associations from the IP5 countries.
In his welcome address, President Campinos paid tribute to the capacity of inventors and companies to innovate and overcome challenges in the past year, stressing that this has been "the result of previous decisions made over the years: likewise, whatever the next great challenge is, and whenever it arrives, it's the discussions we have today - and the decisions we take now - that will affect how we are able to meet those challenges in the future". The President also reported on the work carried out by the Office within the framework of the Strategic Plan 2023. A lively Q&A session followed with members providing their views on the proposed plans of the Office for orienteering towards a "New Normal".
User representatives were provided with an opportunity to make suggestions and comment on the pilot on oral proceedings by ViCo, as well as on the various programmes and projects under Goals 2 & 3 of the Strategic Plan (Simplify and modernise EPO IT Systems and Deliver high-quality products and services efficiently) and on the Office's digital transformation. Several associations praised the Office for recent achievements in the area of international cooperation, stressing the relevance of cooperation programmes aimed at streamlining global prosecution of patent applications for start-ups and small entities relying on IP to attract investors.