19 May 2022
On 12 and 13 May, the EPO held the PATLIB2022 conference online. Organised in co-operation with the European Commission once again this year, the event was attended via the official event platform by more than 1 300 registered participants from 83 countries. In addition, the proceedings of the opening day were streamed on EPO social media channels, attracting a further 2 500 viewers.
In his welcome address, EPO President António Campinos emphasised the event's major significance in terms of joining up support for innovation and knowledge valorisation across Europe: "It is the PATLIBs that will continue to play a key role in helping inventors understand how patents, both unitary and classical, can help to grow businesses and bring innovations to market, innovations that can help create a more sustainable world. And with everything we see going on around us, I think we all understand that the role of PATLIBs is more important than ever", he said.
President Campinos went on to highlight how patents and intellectual property (IP) rights can foster innovation that drives company performance, supports entire economies and secures greater sustainability, including with regard to helping achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He also outlined how the PATLIB network will contribute to the training of tech transfer professionals and to a new pilot programme to extend innovation support to several African universities and research centres in co-operation with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General for Research and Innovation at the European Commission, celebrated the collaboration between the two co-organisers of the conference by drawing attention to the positive social impact that strengthening European innovation ecosystems can have: "Increasingly, the way we look at research in Europe is also to create value for society, helping Europe transform into a digital continent and ensuring our green transformation. Innovation is going to be at the heart of these two transformations. And therefore the work you are doing on connecting knowledge, science and solutions with many investors, actors in the economy and civil society, for them to know about these solutions, and then effectively pick them up, deploy them: this is really what our ambition should be."
The conference reflected the achievements of the PATLIB network of patent information centres and the PATLIB 2.0 project in promoting technology transfer and IP commercialisation. This included showcasing work with new network partners such as the European Innovation Council (EIC). Keynote speaker and EIC Board Member Anita Krohn Traaseth was highly enthusiastic about working together with the EPO to identify emerging trends in the technology landscape and explore how they impact innovators.
Other major highlights included European Commission Director Peter Dröll chairing a panel on common values and principles for research and innovation valorisation, including those outlined in the European Research Area Policy Agenda 2022-2024. The EPO's Director of European and International Legal Affairs Michael Fröhlich then explained how the Unitary Patent will facilitate access to patent protection for SMEs, universities and public research institutions. He was joined by José Aguilar of the PATLIB centre Instituto Pedro Nunes in Portugal, who illustrated the Unitary Patent's benefits with a start-up case study.
Further panel discussions explored how various innovation ecosystem actors can incentivise the sharing of IP and the role of European support programmes for innovators in fostering entrepreneurial and financial know-how. There were also updates on the work about to begin with further new EPO partners such as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and the European Technology Transfer Offices Circle. Finally, EIC Director Jean-David Malo joined Christoph Ernst, the EPO's Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs, to wrap up the event.
The EPO is delighted to welcome the
first patent information centres from two additional countries: the Industrial
Property Office of Monaco and the Institute for Intellectual Property of Bosnia
and Herzegovina. Today, the PATLIB
network now has around 330 centres operating
across 37 countries in total.