4 May 2018
Some 200 representatives from 36 countries gathered in Ljubljana this week at the EPO's 2018 PATLIB conference to discuss how best to support companies and inventors through their patent information services. The event, organised annually since 1990, brings together staff of patent information centres to share their experience and knowledge in providing information and advice on intellectual property at local level.
"I am particularly pleased to see so many of Europe's patent information specialists here in Ljubljana today," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli, in his welcome address. "The EPO attaches great importance to supporting the PATLIB network, which serves the patent system - and the public interest - by providing much-needed patent information services, and thus fostering a favourable climate for innovation."
The Director of the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), Vojko Toman, thanked the EPO for organising the event in Slovenia. In his speech, he emphasised the importance of innovation for a modern society. "Innovation and patent protection ensure a competitive economy, which affects economic growth and ultimately impacts on the welfare of society as a whole."
Dr Toman also hosted the meeting of the EPO President and Eva Štravs Podlogar, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of Slovenia, at the premises of the SIPO.
Topics discussed included bilateral co-operation between the EPO and SIPO, and recent developments related to the planned Unitary Patent system, which is expected to cut costs and formalities, while providing greater legal certainty for European companies and inventors.
Both sides welcomed the news of the ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement by the United Kingdom last week as a decisive step forward. The EPO President also stressed the importance of a full completion of ratification of the UPC Agreement by Slovenia, not least because Ljubljana will host one of the seats of the new court's Mediation and Arbitration Centre.
PATLIB is the network of more than 300 patent information centres spread out across the EPO member states. PATLIB centres provide practical assistance to companies and inventors on patents and other intellectual property issues. Staffed with experienced patent search experts and providing a range of different services, the centres are often the first point of contact for local entrepreneurs, SMEs, private inventors and students.