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8 November 2021
The EPO welcomed more than 2 100 participants from 91 countries to Patent Knowledge Week, which took place online from 2 to 5 November 2021. This digital event is the successor to the traditional Patent Information Conference, which around 250 people used to attend in person each day. The new interactive format allows the EPO to include more stakeholders, from more diverse backgrounds, while enabling audiences to explore in greater depth the topics of most importance to them. By opening up new opportunities for the focussed discussion of patent knowledge, the four-day event contributes to a new normal in which the patent system is becoming more accessible.
The main goal of this year's Patent Knowledge Week was to reach a broad general audience and demonstrate that you no longer need to be an expert to enjoy the benefits of patent data. Addressing participants at the start of the event, EPO President António Campinos said "Patent knowledge gives all of us an opportunity to leverage the power of IP and use it to grow businesses and support the economy. And that is crucial, because for people everywhere, innovation will be vital in building a sustainable economic recovery after the pandemic."
The digital event also highlighted the shift from patent information to patent knowledge. Thorsten Zank, President of the Patent Documentation Group, summed up the key message in this respect: "When we're talking about patent knowledge it's not about knowledge about patents, it's generating knowledge from patents."
This year's programme featured six tracks dedicated to patent professionals, SMEs, patent attorneys, PATLIB centres, universities and the use of patent data from Asia. Many of the sessions emphasised how stakeholders can benefit from the EPO's efforts to foster collaboration, including when it comes to green and sustainable technologies. EPO tools and services are accessible for all, including SMEs, as is the PATLIB network of specialists. The EPO's PATLIB team presented examples of how PATLIB centres co-operate with SMEs, universities, patent attorneys and other IP networks. Speakers from universities showed how the use of patent knowledge in co-operation with technology transfer offices enables the products of research projects to make it from the lab to the market.
This year's Patent Knowledge Week platform also included an exhibition with 16 commercial providers of patent information products and services, including the EPO itself.