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EPO and Saudi Arabia sign Reinforced Partnership agreement

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Dr Abdulaziz Al-Swailem, Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP), and EPO President António Campinos met on 18 November 2021 to sign a Reinforced Partnership (RP) agreement.  This is the tenth RP the EPO has signed with an IP office in a non-member state, following previous agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO).

"The agreement is a long-term strategic partnership, based on a shared vision: the further development of the patent system as a catalyst for innovation, technology transfer and economic growth," said EPO President António Campinos.

Dr Abdulaziz Al-Swailem, Chief Executive Officer of SAIP, said: "Patents play a major role as the importance of a knowledge-based economy develops in Saudi Arabia, and co-operation with the EPO will strengthen SAIP activities as a fully integrated IP authority and regional IP hub."

Under its long-term Vision 2030 strategy, Saudi Arabia has undertaken an ambitious transformation plan to diversify the country's economy and the way it develops. SAIP play a crucial part in this transformation and will rely on the RP to reduce and keep their backlog under control, improve the quality of their products and services, and cooperate on outreach and awareness initiatives in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region.

In addition to cooperation on the patent granting process, the agreement will support SAIP through EPO training initiatives and best practice sharing. The RP could play a significant role, boosting IP development and fostering ties with businesses seeking patent protection locally.

Commitment to cooperation

Through its Strategic Plan (SP2023), the EPO aims to enhance its co-operation with patent offices around the world in order to make global patent system more efficient and better suited to user needs. Activities are aimed at ensuring high patent quality and legal certainty as well as the effectiveness and accessibility of patent systems for both local and foreign applicants. Our international co-operation policy comprises three main pillars: Validation Agreements, Reinforced Partnerships (RP) and technical co-operation.

The EPO's Reinforced Partnership programme seeks to further integrate and strengthen the global patent system by providing our partner offices with direct access to the work products issued by our 4 300 highly qualified and specialised patent examiners. This in turn will improve conditions for applicants filing patents internationally and foster innovation by supporting the partner offices in providing improved services to local applicants.

In total, some 105 000 work products have already been issued by partner offices within the framework of the RP where corresponding EPO search and examination results have been at least partially re-used. Some 40 specialised expert exchanges and training events involving experts from the EPO and the RP offices have been organised (virtually) since the launch of the SP2023.

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