16 September 2022
EPO Vice-President for International and Legal Affairs Christoph Ernst met with Bavarian State Minister for European and International Affairs Melanie Huml to discuss how the EPO can support the Bavarian government to foster innovation and strengthen growth in Bavaria. The Minister's visit took place on the fringes of a two-day conference of the Europe Direct and European Documentations Centres of Germany and Austria organised by the Representation of European Commission in Germany and taking place at the EPO's premises.
Vice-President Ernst outlined that, as a major actor and employer in Munich in the field of innovation, the EPO is already successfully co-operating with industry and universities. The EPO has every interest in further supporting the Bavarian government and the Munich authorities in their endeavours to strengthen innovation locally. "By processing about 190 000 patent applications annually, the EPO is a major contributor to economic growth in Europe," he noted.
Recognising the need to further raise local awareness of the EPO's role as a truly European institution headquartered in Munich, Minister Huml expressed her interest in promoting patent knowledge in academic circles. Noting that a patent is often the sole asset of young inventors starting a business and micro enterprises (fewer than 10 employees), she stated that: "A patent should not only be regarded as a legal instrument."
Both sides agreed that even closer co-operation should be envisaged, especially also in view of forthcoming 50-year anniversary of the signature of the European Patent Convention (EPC), which took place in the Bavarian Parliament (Maximilianeum). There was also a consensus on the need to enhance the benefits of the EPO's presence for innovative businesses and young inventors in Bavaria.