Breakfast meeting with the former EPO president

On Friday 17 September a breakfast meeting took place at the Swedish Patent Office where Alison Brimelow, the former EPO president was invited to reply to questions from the participants and also share her experiences from her 4 years at the EPO.

Many of the questions were related to the future development of the patent system in a more globalised world and how today’s problems might be solved.

Two problems areas were identified:
- The large amount of patent applications to be prosecuted, i.e. the back logs in many of the large patent offices. This is not only a problem for the applicants but also for third parties.
- How patent offices could be modified and customized structurally towards a globalised economy having high demands on both fast prosecution as well as cooperation between patent offices to deliver patents of high quality.

During her 4 years at the EPO Alison Brimelow worked with extending the cooperation between the ”Big Five”, i.e. the EPO and the patent offices in the USA, China, Japan and South Korea. These five regions today account for approximately 75% of global filings. The extended cooperation between the “Big Five” is a requirement to achieve a common view on patenting that is adapted to a modern world, according to Alison Brimelow.

To continue the work towards a modern patent system two things are especially desirable according to Alison Brimelow:
- An increased engagement and commitment from stake holders using the patent system and being dependent on it. They need to participate and to have high demands on the change and improvement process.
- A renewed and serious political initiative that is also coordinated is also needed. For Europe that would mean a political effort to continue the improvement process and to realize that the opposite would be a structural weakness for Europe.

It now remains to be seen how the cooperation between the patent offices will develop under the new EPO president Benoit Battistelli.

// Eva Wretblad