18 May 2022
On 13 May, EPO President António Campinos and the State Enterprise Ukrainian Intellectual Property Institute (Ukrpatent) Director-General, Andrew Kudin met in person at the EPO premises in Munich, the first visit by Mr Kudin to an IP Office abroad this year.
Following on from the previous online meeting held on 7 April 2022, this was an opportunity to review existing initiatives and explore new ways of assisting Ukrpatent. In view of the exceptional situation faced by the country, the Office decided to propose an enhanced package of support measures and cooperation activities to its Ukrainian partner. The basis for the future co-operation was established by the signing of a Declaration of intent.
The nature of cooperation between both offices will take many forms but two of the most important involve people and office orientated support. People oriented support will focus on the possibility of developing an ad hoc programme for Ukrpatent staff, based on secondments and internships. It has also been decided that, with the support of the European Patent Academy, the full training catalogue will be made available to Ukrpatent staff.
Office oriented support will take the form of re-enforcing existing IT infrastructure and developing new processes. IT infrastructure is vital to ensuring uninterrupted service, and discussions focused on how best to provide IT support to Ukrpatent while reducing its costs. This will also complement the existing measures in place, such as the suspension of EPOQUE Net invoices.
Supporting the national innovation ecosystem was also a key issue discussed by the two Heads of Office. They agreed that sustaining Ukrainian innovators and the creation of domestic IP rights are invaluable initiatives that need to be protected and elaborated upon. The development of more specific measures has therefore been assigned to the joint EPO-Ukrpatent task force, which will look to develop synergies between the two offices.
Despite the extremely difficult conditions faced by Ukrpatent, and its staff, it continues to function both remotely and from its headquarters. Currently, more than 600 staff are, for the most part, working remotely. In an address to EPO staff, the Director-General paid a heartfelt tribute to the Ukrpatent staff for their resilience and determination in the face of great adversity, as they continue to provide services to stakeholders and customers.