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EPO fosters international co-operation during WIPO Assemblies

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A high-level EPO delegation led by President António Campinos attended the WIPO Assemblies in Geneva last week to meet with counterparts from national patent offices from around the world to help shape the EPO's international agenda for 2019.

The 58th series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which took place from 24 September to 2 October 2018, provided a unique opportunity to take stock of the progress in co-operation activities, and to define future directions. The EPO agenda included over 45 official meetings with national patent offices from other regions.

The meetings aimed to further strengthen relations with a number of strategic partners; these take the form of comprehensive co-operation plans which aim to streamline patenting procedures while building up national capacities, and to deliver high-quality training and assistance to the partner offices.    

IP Australia officially joined the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) family by signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the CPC together with a comprehensive biannual work plan. This brings to 28 the number of offices classifying their patent documentation using this highly refined system. Other important developments were the signing of MoUs on co-operation with the National Institute for the Defense of Free Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property of Peru (INDECOPI), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO). The EPO also renewed its MoU on co-operation with the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce of Colombia, a user of EPOQUE Net.

"Close co-operation with our partners around the globe is essential for establishing an efficient IP ecosystem", the EPO President explained. "All offices are part of that network, and we share many of the same users, so greater efficiency can only be achieved by working together," he said.

In order to share experiences and best practices on the validation system, EPO President Campinos hosted a meeting with representatives of Morocco, Moldova, and Cambodia, as well as with counterparts from candidate countries for validation and regional offices such as Angola, Georgia, Laos, Jordan and the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI). To date, four countries have already signed a validation agreement with the EPO, which has extended the possible coverage of a European patent to 44 countries. Validation has proven to be a successful measure for reducing the backlog of patent applications, and releasing resources to strengthen local innovation ecosystems.

Mr Campinos also met individually with the heads of the world's five largest IP offices (known as the IP5) to take stock of developments and plan next year's Trilateral and IP5 meetings.  

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