On Thursday, EPO President António Campinos met the State Enterprise Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute (UKRPATENT) Director General, Andrew Kudin to understand more about the Ukrainian Office's needs and concerns in the current tragic circumstances.
"On behalf of the EPO, on behalf of our staff, let me express how much we are impressed by the way the UKRPATENT is handling the consequences of this military aggression", said President Campinos opening the meeting. "In these difficult times, every one of us in the office feels Ukrainian".
Director General Kudin subsequently shared a humbling insight into life and work conditions in Ukraine. He described how the UKRPATENT was set up as a 24/7 living space for staff members and families, providing medical supplies and a shelter. Andrew Kudin also expressed his heart-felt gratitude to the EPO and its staff members for their assistance and engagement: "You can't imagine how important your support is. What matters the most in these circumstances is human support. Words are not enough to express our appreciation".
In the course of the meeting, the two offices agreed to immediately initiate a cooperation based on a reinforced partnership. In addition to the technical assistance granting access to patent information and other patent-related databases under privileged conditions, the EPO will provide IT support to enhance the security of the UKRPATENT critical data. Furthermore, an HR programme will explore the possibility of offering secondments of UKRPATENT staff to the EPO.
The measures will support the actions already taken by the EPO to support those affected by Russian military aggression.
At a very early stage in the crisis, the EPO froze its co-operation activities with the Russian national patent office as well as with the Eurasian Patent Organization.
At the European Patent Organisation's Administrative Council meeting on 22 March, the Office activated the "EPN Responsive Network" for all members of the European Patent Network (EPN) in order to exchange information and coordinate actions in an open and timely manner.
The fundraising campaign initiated by the Office and its staff has generated over EUR 415 000. This amount has been channelled to the Red Cross and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The EPO has also proposed legal safeguards to the Ukrainian patent applicants and professional representatives who are unable to file patent applications or meet the organisation´s deadlines.
Finally, a framework has also been adopted to allow ad-hoc temporary enrolment for Ukrainian children in the European Schools in Munich (ESM) and The Hague (ESH). So far, ca. 40 Ukrainian children have registered at the ESM.
Many colleagues have also contributed by hosting families, donating commodities and volunteering with local charities. The Office has supported their endeavours by setting up a dedicated intranet page, EPO for Ukraine, to coordinate donations and volunteering activities.
President Campinos concluded the meeting by saying: "Our heart is with you, our hands are with you and we are at your service".
A dedicated team will now push forward to explore the joint actions further, as agreed between the heads of office.