Creation of a patent academy by the European Patent Organisation

Munich, 30 June 2004 -- With a view to fostering the development and harmonisation of patent-related intellectual property law and practice within its member states, the European Patent Organisation has adopted regulations setting up a European Patent Academy. The new institution will be managed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and will have its seat in Munich. In close co-operation with national, European and international institutions and organisations its main task will be to develop a Europe-wide training and education scheme for the benefit of the European patent system. The Academy is expected to commence functioning in the course of 2005.

The creation of the European Patent Academy reflects the need to improve intellectual property-related training and education structures in Europe. In most leading industrialised and industrialising countries, the growing relevance of intellectual property (IP) for the knowledge-driven economy has prompted the development of new strategies for IP management. A core element of these strategies is the effective education and training of IP professionals and system users. Specialised IP training centres have been established in a number of regions and countries, such as ASEAN, Japan, Korea, China and the United States. "Europe is in danger of lagging behind these developments and of losing its historically strong IP culture by resting on its laurels", says the outgoing President of the EPO, Ingo Kober.

The European Patent Academy will address training and education needs by offering its activities to specific target audiences grouped in five areas. It will promote and support the preparation of candidates for the European Qualification Examination to become a European patent attorney, as well as offer vocational training for professional representatives. The Academy will support initiatives aimed at harmonising patent litigation and enforcement in Europe and increasing awareness by encouraging patent-related IP training at universities. Education and training projects designed for industry and patent system users in the areas of IP creation and management will also offered in its programme, as well as training for civil servants and representatives of national IP offices of the Organisation´┐Ż's member states.

Applying the principles of complementarity and subsidiarity, the European Patent Academy will design and implement its activities in close co-operation with national, European and international institutions and organisations. Training will take place where an actual need has been identified. With a Europe-wide training and education scheme, the Academy will create synergies amongst all stakeholders of the European patent system.