20 March 2023
A group photo of the 11th Annual EPO-JETRO Meeting
This year, the annual meeting between the
European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
took place at the EPO’s Isar headquarters in Munich on Wednesday 15 March,
providing a valuable opportunity to exchange information with representatives of
some of the Office’s top applicants in Japan. Around 15 industry
representatives were present at the meeting, which was jointly organised with the JETRO Düsseldorf network, the Japan Patent Office’s
permanent mission to Europe.
Members of the EPO
delegation led by President António Campinos underlined the continuous emphasis
on providing all applicants with the highest quality of products and services,
throughout the EPO’s digital transformation in light of the pandemic, and ahead
of the Unitary Patent system starting on 1 June. It was agreed that the support
of users has been essential throughout this transition and that they also
benefit from the improved tools and new ways of working. Industry
representatives particularly appreciated the EPO’s increased use of
videoconferencing. Meanwhile, in response to high interest in the launch of the
Unitary Patent, a major online seminar is foreseen in May for all Japanese
users and user associations.
Working together for a more sustainable future
More generally, direct
feedback from major international partners will help ensure that users get the
most out of the EPO’s newly won efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. The
EPO’s clear commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals was
also discussed and sustainability will be at the core of the forthcoming
Strategic Plan 2028. It was noted that, globally, the IP5 agenda offers an
additional instrument to further foster sustainability.
Finally, it was recognised that innovation
ecosystems throughout the world can increasingly benefit from the growing
reach of the European patent system. While European patents can now be validated in 44 countries, another 42 countries re-use EPO products through
Reinforced Partnerships or the Patent Prosecution Highway.
The user meeting, the
eleventh of its kind, was greatly appreciated
as an opportunity to build further on well-established relationships,
which have been fostered ever since the first such meeting in 2011.