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EPO President visited Morocco

Benoît Battistelli gives his opening speech

Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office, was in Casablanca (Morocco) on Monday, 16 May, attending a conference on "Patent validation and technology transfer - issues and initiatives" organised by the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property ("OMPIC").

Together with Adil Elmaliki, OMPIC's Director-General, he welcomed OMPIC's decision some years ago to adopt a strategy aimed at capitalising on the role played by Moroccan patents as an economic bridge between the worlds of research and business.

Morocco is the first state to introduce an agreement on validating European patents at the applicant's request, and President Battistelli highlighted the part this agreement, in force since 1 March 2015, can play in helping the Moroccan market to secure its place in global trade by encouraging transfers of technology and direct foreign investment in the country. The validation system extends the geographic coverage of European patents beyond the member states of the European Patent Organisation to encompass a market comprising almost 700 m inhabitants.

This new development in Morocco's national patent system, which is now fully geared towards international trade, is the latest in a longstanding industrial-property tradition. The conference was one of a series of events held to mark the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the first Moroccan law, or "dahir", on protecting industrial property on 23 June 1916.

In 2015, OMPIC received 1 021 patent applications, of which 22% were filed by Moroccan applicants. Moroccan universities and research centres have trebled their absolute number of national patent applications over the past four years, and today account for 62% of national filings, compared to just 26% four years ago. Meanwhile, the number of European patent applications validated in Morocco has grown appreciably since Euro‑PCT applications entered the validation system towards the end of 2015.