20 March 2023
A group photo of the 11th Annual EPO-JETRO Meeting
This year, the annual meeting between the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) took place at the EPO's Isar headquarters in Munich on Wednesday 15 March, providing a valuable opportunity to exchange information with representatives of some of the Office's top applicants in Japan. Around 15 industry representatives were present at the meeting, which was jointly organised with the JETRO Düsseldorf network, the Japan Patent Office's permanent mission to Europe.
Members of the EPO delegation led by President António Campinos underlined the continuous emphasis on providing all applicants with the highest quality of products and services, throughout the EPO's digital transformation in light of the pandemic, and ahead of the Unitary Patent system starting on 1 June. It was agreed that the support of users has been essential throughout this transition and that they also benefit from the improved tools and new ways of working. Industry representatives particularly appreciated the EPO's increased use of videoconferencing. Meanwhile, in response to high interest in the launch of the Unitary Patent, a major online seminar is foreseen in May for all Japanese users and user associations.
More generally, direct feedback from major international partners will help ensure that users get the most out of the EPO's newly won efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The EPO's clear commitment to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals was also discussed and sustainability will be at the core of the forthcoming Strategic Plan 2028. It was noted that, globally, the IP5 agenda offers an additional instrument to further foster sustainability.
Finally, it was recognised that innovation ecosystems throughout the world can increasingly benefit from the growing reach of the European patent system. While European patents can now be validated in 44 countries, another 42 countries re-use EPO products through Reinforced Partnerships or the Patent Prosecution Highway.
The user meeting, the eleventh of its kind, was greatly appreciated as an opportunity to build further on well-established relationships, which have been fostered ever since the first such meeting in 2011.