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Patent protection "key to Europe’s knowledge economy"

Protecting patents has a central role to play in Europe's knowledge economy and EU competitiveness, European Patent Office President Alain Pompidou told the annual EPO online services conference in Lisbon today.

"If Europe really wants to become the world's leading knowledge economy by 2010, the patent network urgently needs to be developed," Prof 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, Prof 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", Prof Pompidou concluded.

In Portugal itself the government is giving special priority to research and innovation, and more specifically to develop new technologies related to accessing patents. INPI is improving existing and introducing new, online services such as a patent database to allow for searching and accessing all Portuguese-registered patents.

Today’s concluding session of the EPO conference broke up into three parallel seminars and hands-on workshops on epoline and esp@cenet, the EPO’s online products.

The EPO conference was held at the Lisboa Congress Centre, Praça das Indústrias, 1300-307.

Media relations: ISC – Intelligence in Science
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Agnes Suchodolska
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Tim Sebastian, Journalist, BBC World, UK
Alain Pompidou, President, European Patent Office
António-Serge Campinos, President, Administrative Council, Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial
Alberto Alessi, inventor
Ana Paula Amorim, Director of technology transfer and entrepreneurship, TecMinho
John Bambridge, Director, epoline®, European Patent Office
Kevin Douglas, Director, European Patent Office
Jose R. Salcedo, CEO, MultiWave Photonics, SA
Wim van der Eijk, Principal Director, International Legal Affairs & Patent Law, European Patent Office

Marta Czerniawska | alfa
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