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7th EPO-SIPO heads' meeting brings offices even closer together

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EPO President Benoît Battistelli and SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu The heads of the European Patent Office (EPO) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) met this week to renew their commitment to supporting global innovation.

Meeting in Beijing, EPO President Benoît Battistelli and SIPO Commissioner Tian Lipu signed an agreement under which SIPO will use the latest version of the EPO's EPOQUE patent search engine, as well as an annual work plan to implement several joint projects in 2014. The priorities for EPO-SIPO bilateral relations next year will be to bring the two offices even closer by introducing not only EPOQUE but also the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme, already used by the EPO, at SIPO and reutilising examiners' work, including prompt exchange of enriched citations.

This crucial meeting follows the joint launch in December 2012 of the Chinese-English component of Patent Translate, the EPO's machine translation tool for patents, and the announcement earlier this year that SIPO would adopt the CPC.

EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "The EPO and SIPO are two of the largest patent offices in the world. Over the past year we have intensified our co-operation in the use of tools and services that are essential for establishing a high-quality, efficient patent system at global level too. This helps innovative companies from China, Europe and other countries to protect their intellectual property more effectively, as they can expect comparable conditions when patenting their inventions in different regions of the world." 

During his official visit to China, President Battistelli took the opportunity to meet with some of the EPO's top applicants from Chinese industry, in order to better understand their needs and share views on how to improve the patent system. He also met the EU ambassador to China and representatives of European industry at an event hosted by the EU Delegation to China.

At a ceremony on 26 November, the EPO President was awarded an honorary professorship from Renmin University of China for his good work to strengthen the relationship between China and Europe in the field of intellectual property. He was also presented with this honour on behalf of the EPO as a whole, in recognition of its valuable contribution to the patent system.

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