Slovenia celebrates knowledge networks and innovation ecosystems

2 December 2022

António Campinos EPO President Campinos giving his keynote speech at the conference in Ljubljana.

How does the Unitary Patent system benefit innovative businesses and particularly smaller entities? This was the focus of a conference in Ljubljana, jointly organised by the European Patent Office (EPO) together with the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to mark the 20th anniversary of Slovenia's accession to the European Patent Convention.

Addressing some 150 entrepreneurs, inventors and business representatives, President Campinos praised Slovenia's "stable, steady and strong economic growth in the past decades." He also recalled that Slovenia made history in 2002 by becoming the first South-Eastern European state to join the European Patent Organisation. Given the manifold challenges faced by society in terms of sustainability, he noted that "a diverse, inclusive and innovation-led economy has never been more important for Europe and Slovenia." With the Unitary Patent system, Mr Campinos concluded, we will have "the patent system we need to propel this country's innovations further and wider than ever before."

Michael Fröhlich, Director for European and International Legal Affairs, and EPO Chief Economist Yann Ménière also spoke on the benefits of the Unitary Patent system for Europe's entire intellectual property landscape. Their contributions were complemented by a detailed analysis of the innovation ecosystem in Slovenia and an update on the Unified Patent Court's Mediation and Arbitration Centres located in Ljubljana and Lisbon.

Ahead of the conference, Mr Campinos met with Slovenia's Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Matjaž Han. "I am pleased that today's event and the first visit of  President Campinos to Slovenia coincide with the 20th anniversary of our country's membership in the European Patent Organisation", the Minister stated. "The Slovenian economy is export-oriented and closely integrated into the European economy. The Unitary Patent system is a major step towards strengthening the single European market and increasing its competitiveness in the global market."

Strengthening Europe's knowledge networks and innovation ecosystems

Mr Campinos also paid a visit to the SIPO, to convey in person his best wishes to the office's staff on its 20th anniversary, and the Jožef Stefan Institute (JSI), a Slovenian science research institution that hosts a Technology and Innovation Transfer Centre. In her exchange with the EPO President the Director of the SIPO, Karin Žvokelj, underlined the need for a well-functioning and balanced system of IP rights for the development of innovation and creativity, pointing to the special role of patents for the commercialisation of inventions: "The new unitary patent system brings an opportunity to obtain patent protection cheaper, faster and easier in several European countries at the same time, while the new Unified Patent Court will enable patent disputes to be resolved more quickly and create a streamlined judicial enforcement."

The centre is part of the Europe-wide network of patent information centres known as PATLIBs. It makes a valuable contribution to the EPO's PATLIB 2.0 project, which aims to strengthen the network through a variety of activities. Together with JSI Director Bostjan Zalar, Mr Campinos discussed the patent-related services that the centre provides to researchers, entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), private inventors and students.

Finally, Mr Campinos spoke with high-level representatives from the University of Ljubljana, where the EPO's Pan-European Seal Young Professionals Programme is very popular with graduates. A total of 21 graduates from the university have enrolled in the programme to date. He also took this opportunity to introduce the new modular IP education framework provided by the EPO Patent Academy.

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