Protect and prosper

Patent protection has a central role to play in Europe’s knowledge economy, European Patent Office President Alain Pompidou told the annual EPO online services conference last week.


Protecting patents has a central role to play in Europe’s knowledge economy, European Patent Office President Alain Pompidou told the annual EPO online services conference in Lisbon last week.



‘If Europe really wants to become the world’s leading knowledge economy by 2010, the patent network urgently needs to be developed,’ Professor Pompidou told more than 350 delegates from all over Europe meeting at the Lisbon Congress Centre.



He told the conference, co-organised by the Portuguese Patent and Trademark Office (INPI), that the EPO warmly welcomed the European Commission’s support for an enhanced “patent culture” in the context of 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological, which runs until 2013.



But the public consultation process organised by the Commission clearly showed that the present system needs attention, Professor Pompidou said. One immediate improvement would come with the ratification of the London Protocol on translation of patent applications: ‘This could significantly reduce the financial burden on patentees.’



The second, more ambitious, reform, the European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA), is aimed at harmonising patent litigation in Europe. Its provision for a European Patent Court would ‘significantly enhance legal security for patent owners and the public alike,’ since it replaced the current system of unharmonised parallel litigation at national level.


‘Such a court is the obvious missing element in the present system’, Professor Pompidou concluded.