Celebrating 50 Years of The European Patent Convention
In 1973, Europe initiated a journey to foster innovation and economic growth by creating the European Patent Convention (EPC). Just last week, on 5 October 2023, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of this pivotal treaty which has profoundly influenced the field of intellectual property, promoted technological advancement and facilitated global cooperation. The EPC is a testament to the enduring impact of continental-scale cooperation and innovation.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the European Patent Convention (EPC), it is with great enthusiasm that we share a series of testimonies from our team of Patent Attorneys. Our journey has been intimately intertwined with the growth and transformation of the European patent system and through these testimonies, we would like to share a fun and unique perspective on our personal experiences over the decades.
For us, this historic milestone has many meanings: overcoming challenges, celebrating triumphs, and adapting to significant developments which have shaped careers of our Patent Attorneys.
“In 2016 and 2018 we had the amazing opportunity to host at Katzarov two European Patent Examiners. We were honored to be selected based on our expertise in Life Sciences. The purpose of their presence was the initiative of the European Patent Office to allow Patent Examiners to make a two-week training in IP law firms which are drafting, filing and prosecuting European patent applications. This was a very rich experience for us, as European Patent Attorneys, to discuss the European patent practice and examination proceedings within the European Patent Office. This was also an excellent opportunity for the Examiners to discover our everyday work as European patent practitioners”
“When I was working as an in-house patent attorney at Nestlé, we hosted a one-week visit from an EPO Examiner in the framework of the programme initiated by the EPO to “expose” Examiners to the reality of attorneys and applicants. We organized a visit of the pilot plant, including climbing to the top of a spray-drier. After the five-hour ascent, the Examiner told me that standing on the top of this huge piece of equipment really raised awareness of the burden and complexity of performing comparative experiments to defend a patent application… I would like to recognize the openminded attitude of EPO, which makes efforts to remain connected to the real life of applicants and representatives and to nurture a collaborative spirit, to the benefit of inventions protection and inventors”
“As Patent Attorneys we are daily facing patent Examiners to confront our opinions about patentability of the patent applications which we handle. Of course, the contacts are mainly official, however, the possibility of requesting and conducting informal interviews with the Examiners, even physically in presence of the applicant or the inventors shows the goodwill and flexibility of an organization which has in mind to provide the applicant with the best examination service despite the very strict first impression. My personal experience of such interview recalls nice moments discussing constructively on patentability and always ending up with an agreement on a set of claims.
This is always a very rich experience for us as well as for the Examiners to discover our everyday work and our way of analyzing patentability“
“On a daily basis, patent attorneys defend patent application directly or indirectly to patent administration all over the world, such as in Brazil, Canada, China, Japan or the United States. I am delighted to personally represent inventors at the European Patent Office (EPO). As a patent attorney, the examination of patent application at the EPO is one of the most challenging and enriching in the world in terms of possibility to argue with Examiners on patentability to defend applicant interests. Due to the largest case law among patent administration, the treatment of inventive step of invention at the EPO is well regulated and allows authorized representatives to fully express their dedication to defend applicant assets“
The stories here exemplify the spirit of the EPC, transcending the formalities of patent examination to show the EPC’s (and EPO by extension) continued success and relevance through the last five decades. By prioritizing excellent service and innovation, the EPC continuously adapts to the changing needs of patent applicant, inventors and patent attorneys, ultimately securing its position as a cornerstone in Europe’s innovation ecosystem.