EPO-OMPIC: a strategic partnership in support of technological and industrial development
On 8 May EPO President Benoît Battistelli met Morocco's Minister for Industry, Investment, Trade and the Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, in Rabat. The meeting is part of a major co-operation programme between the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC) and the EPO which has been running for a number of years with a view to setting up a patent and innovation system to foster the competitiveness of Moroccan businesses and the development of foreign investment.
Mr Elalamy took the opportunity to stress Morocco's status as a regional African hub for investment in the industrial sector, highlighting the increasingly important part played by OMPIC in support of his country's standing, particularly in terms of the development of industrial and commercial property, an essential factor in corporate competitiveness. He went on to observe that Morocco now had an industrial property system compliant with international standards, allowing right holders, innovative national enterprises and foreign investors to gain protection and enforce their rights.
Mr Battistelli emphasised that, as shown by the amount of European patent applications taking the validation route three years after the launch of the validation system, growing numbers of potential foreign investors now saw the Kingdom of Morocco as a channel for the development of their technologies, thereby confirming its industrial dynamism. "We are delighted that the number of European patent applications designating Morocco has doubled over the past three years, and now stands at 2 000 applications a year," President Battistelli said.
On the margins of the meeting, the EPO President and OMPIC's Director-General Adil El Maliki hosted a round table in Fez with industrialists, researchers, academics and public officials from the Fez-Meknes region. This was a chance to showcase the contribution that IP-intensive industries make to economic growth.
"Co-operation with the EPO is a win-win situation, as the validation system shows," Mr Maliki said. "OMPIC benefits from the expertise of 4 400 EPO patent examiners for foreign applications. Moroccan patents gain in quality, and OMPIC's examiners focus on improving national industry's utilisation of the patent system," he said.