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40 years of professional representation before the EPO

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EPO President Benoît Battistelli joined Francis Leyder, President of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the EPO (epi) and Christian Cardona, the Maltese Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, to celebrate the epi's 40th anniversary.

Speaking at the meeting in Valletta on 13 April, President Battistelli said "The EPO and epi came into existence at the same time and our organisations make up two essential parts of the same European Patent System. The epi is one of our closest partners and has helped us to ensure that the patents we offer meet the needs of our users. I would like to warmly congratulate them on this anniversary and I am confident that the strong relationship we have will help our organisations to meet any future challenges."

The EPO and epi co-operate in a number of areas including jointly organising the European Qualifying Examination (EQE) for patent professionals seeking to become a European Patent Attorney and represent applicants before the EPO, and the Candidate Support Project for aspiring patent attorneys from member states having fewer than five EQE-qualified representatives.

Focusing on the importance of continuing education, epi and EPO also run a joint training programme for professional representatives, which includes the annual Examination Matters conference held at the EPO and a series of roving seminars for patent attorneys across Europe. In addition, the EPO holds regular exchanges with epi representatives, while the Institute is present in various official bodies of the Office.

The epi is the professional body representing European patent attorneys. It currently has some 12 000 members from all 38 EPO member states who work either in industry or in private practice. The Institute was established in October 1977 by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation.

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