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17th Annual Meeting with Member States

31 May 2023

 The European Patent Network at their 17th Annual Meeting in Lisbon

The 17th Annual
Meeting for the European Patent Network took place in Lisbon from 26 to 27 May,
marking the first face-to-face gathering since the shift to digital meetings in
2020. The meeting has provided an invaluable opportunity for national offices to
look back on the progress made over the past years and, discuss directions for
the future. As the Unitary Patent launch approaches and the European Patent
Office continues to evolve, the European Patent Network remains committed to
excellence, adaptability, and sustainability in its operations. The Portuguese
Minister of Justice, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, was also invited to say a few
words.

During the
meeting, a wide range of topics were addressed, highlighting the importance of
IT cooperation, the activities of the Patent Academy, the upcoming launch of
the EPO observatory on Patents and Technology in October, best practices in
cooperation, a review of the fee system structure, and the development of the
next Strategic Plan for the period 2024 to 2028.

This year’s
meeting holds particular significance for the European Patent Network as it
coincides with the imminent launch of the Unitary Patent, the celebration of 50
years of the patent system, and the final year of the Strategic Plan 2023. 2023
has laid the groundwork for achieving excellence and adapting to become a more
sustainable and efficient office. The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic
have also prompted a deeper reflection on the value of digital and operational
channels.

In his opening
remarks, EPO President Campinos placed emphasis on the importance of IT
cooperation within the European Patent Network. He highlighted the progress
made in fostering greater levels of cooperation, coordination, clarity, and
coherence in this area: “Our approach has taken us on a collective journey to
learn from one another, and progress at an ever-increasing pace”.

Looking ahead,
the EPO aims to strengthen the European Patent Network through transparent
dialogue and improved consistency. Regarding IT cooperation, existing tools
will be further implemented, and new functionalities will be introduced to
enhance efficiency. Learning and innovation are also key focus areas, with an
emphasis on forming impactful partnerships for knowledge and education.

The meeting
provided the opportunity to hold discussions on aspirations for the next five
years to shape a new vision for the Office into our next Strategic Plan 2028,
which is focused on placing sustainable development as the central goal.

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