21 June 2021
On 21 May, the EPO website reported on the PATLIB2021 conference, held earlier in the same week and marking the launch of the PATLIB 2.0 project and a raft of new services the EPO can offer the 330+ PATLIB centres across the member states.
The PATLIB2021 participants heard how innovation holds the key to a prosperous Europe, securing jobs and well-being all over the continent. The European Commission, for example, is talking about investing as much as EUR 100bn in innovation up to 2027, through its Horizon Europe programme. Overall, a common thread ran through the conference, highlighting the importance of innovation, intellectual property and a strong PATLIB network for Europe's innovators, especially those at universities and in SMEs.
Innovation generally does not come about in a spontaneous flash of inspiration but is the result of years of hard toil, research, trial and error – and someone taking a risk. Intellectual property protection is one incentive to take that risk. It is society's recognition of the work – and the risk – behind almost every new product, process or service that improves our daily lives.
Without intellectual property, there would be less innovation and our lives would be the poorer for it. Those working in the field of intellectual property contribute to society's progress and help to ensure that the ideas that move us forward are properly rewarded. Every sound piece of guidance a PATLIB centre gives is part of that.
It is against this backdrop that PATLIB 2.0 is happening. The project aims to strengthen the PATLIB network, support innovation and technology transfer and commercialisation and boost competitiveness, skilled employment and economic growth throughout Europe. The PATLIB network is already a success story but it is going to become more visible as the project progresses. Services will grow. Being a PATLIB centre will be a mark of both status and quality, recognised by innovators across the continent.
On 20 May, the PATLIB centres embarked on a self-assessment process that will see them assigned to one of three new levels. Depending on their assigned level, they will be eligible for a particular set of tailored services from the EPO. These will include training courses, exchange visits, support with organising local events, access to a central information and collaboration platform for all PATLIB centres, and much more besides.
The EPO hopes that whenever anyone, no matter where they are in Europe, asks where to find support or guidance on protecting an innovative idea, the answer will be "PATLIB".