European Patent Office & India sign MoU on bilateral co-operation on patents

european patent office

The European Patent Office (EPO) announced on its website today that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Intellectual Property Office of India (IPO India) on co-operation on patents to promote innovation in India and the European Union.

The MoU calls for bilateral co-operation between EPO & IPO and it seeks to establish a framework for structured work relations between both the offices for a minimum of four years.

The website of the European Patent Office states, ‘The overriding objective is to support the development of the patent system in terms of service delivery and efficiency, particularly by means of technical co-operation and exchange of best practices in areas such as patent examination, administration and information.’

The MoU also led to the EPO & the IPO signing a biennial work plan.

According to EPO President, Benoît Battistelli, “This is an important step forward in our relations with India, which is becoming a major player in global innovation. Through this agreement Europe and India are reinforcing their efforts to create new opportunities for innovating businesses that will be able to benefit from improved conditions for the protection of intellectual property in India. This will encourage European businesses to take their inventions to the Indian market, whereas higher quality patents are making it easier for Indian inventors to access the European market. In this respect, the agreement also aims to stimulate the promotion of economic development and the transfer of technology between both regions.”

The website also states the following statistics: 9911 of the 43674 patent applications filed with the Indian Patent Office in 2012/2013 were filed by Indian applicants. Also, national and international filings by Indians have increased by significantly in 2012/2013, by 11% & 32% respectively, year-on-year. Also, the EPO received 564 applications of the 1100 international patent applications filed by Indian residents in 2012/2013. One-third (or 12000) of the foreign applications were filed at India’s patent office by Europeans. Further, European companies make up five of the top 10 foreign resident applications at the Indian Patent Office.

In a bid to support innovation and the user community, the EPO has also entered into a co-operation agreement with the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES) to promote the European patent system in India and to support technology transfer between Europe and India. European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) – an EU co-funded initiative implemented by EUROCHAMBRES – which provides a platform for Indo-European co-operation on clean energy technologies and advises European enterprises on IPR issues in India through its IPR Help Desk is responsible for implementing the co-operation programme.

Arnaldo Abruzzini, the Secretary General of EUROCHAMBRES, commented, “Thanks to this co-operation agreement, European companies wishing to set a foot in India can now count on two solid and experienced partners addressing their IPR issues. Such hands-on support to safeguard their IPR is a game-changer in particular for European SMEs when making a decision to internationalise their operations. We hope that this model of cooperation will be replicated in other relevant markets in the future.”

The Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DEITY) of the Government of India and the EPO have also signed a work plan to establish a platform for co-operation in the field of ICT related patent matters between the two countries.

These developments were announced on the evening of the Indo-European Conference on ICT- Related Patents scheduled to take place in Munich today. DEITY of the Indian Ministry of Communication & Information Technology & EPO are jointly organizing the Conference with the aim of providing European Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industry in the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector, as well as IP law firms, business associations, and chambers of commerce, with first-hand accounts of the opportunities and challenges presented by the Indian patent system. The Conference would also reflect upon the best patenting practices in the field of information and communication technology inventions.

Devika Agarwal

Devika Agarwal

Devika is a Policy Analyst at Nasscom. She first started writing on Spicy IP in 2013 when she was awarded the Spicy IP Fellowship, which sparked her passion for writing on IP. Devika is interested in copyright and technology law.

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