Comptroller visits EPO

In a press release published yesterday, the European Patent Office announced a visit by Tim Moss, the Comptroller-General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, and Sean Dennehey to the European Patent Office (see Meeting with UK Intellectual Property Office highlights role of patents in supporting innovation 26 March 2018).  According to the press release, the Comptroller and Mr Dennehey met the EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

The Comptroller and President discussed recent developments in IPO, including the EPO annual report, bilateral co-operation and preparations for setting up the new unitary patent system. The EPO Vice-President updated the British delegation on such topics as search and examination, digital systems, the EPO's quality management system, and European and international co-operation.  Apparently, "a new and ambitious strategy for the UK IPO, a key element of which is to draw upon the knowledge and experience of others" was mentioned but there is nothing more specific in the press release.

The press release noted that the UK was one of the 7 founder members of the EPO in 1977 and that "companies and inventors from the UK filed some 5 300 patents at the EPO last year, according to the Annual Report 2017. This was up +2.4% over 2016, and the fourth straight year of increase." While the increase in patent applications is to be welcomed, it is depressing to note that we have slipped to 9th place in the table of European patent applications per country of origin behind the USA (42,300), Germany (25,490), Japan (21,712), France (10,559), China (8,330), Switzerland (7,283), the Netherlands (7,043) and South Korea (6,261).

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