Alain Pompidou takes up office as President of the European Patent Office

Munich (ots) - cross-reference: photos are available at: http://www.naeurope.co.uk/en/story.htx?nr=300002620

Alain Pompidou took up office today as President of the European Patent Office (EPO). The 62-year old Frenchman succeeds a German, Ingo Kober, who, having held this post since 1996, is now going into retirement. Elected in December 2003 by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, the supervisory body of the Organisation, Alain Pompidou becomes the fourth President of the EPO since it was set up in 1977.

In a first statement, the new President paid tribute to his predecessor's significant contribution to developing the European patent system. The EPO with 6 100 employees is not only the fourth biggest international organisation in the world, it is also one of the most successful. Today, European patents have legal force in the 28 member states of the European Patent Organisation and in five other states with links to the Organisation, a geographical area of 540 million inhabitants. Mr Pompidou considers the two main objectives of his presidency to be "to improve, in conjunction with the member states, the performance of the European patent system, and to strengthen international co-operation. At Office level, this will mean boosting efficiency by drawing more on each individual's potential and creating real dynamic concertation with the staff".

Alain Pompidou has had a long and distinguished academic and political career. With doctorates in medicine, science and biology, he has been a professor in the medical faculty of the University of Paris since 1974 and was also a director of a Paris hospital. As a representative of his country in several European and international organisations, and as an adviser to the French government, most notably to the prime minister, he was instrumental in developing numerous research and technology projects and programmes. He was a member of the European Parliament from 1989 to 1999, and was particularly concerned over this period with the patentability of biotechnology inventions and bioethics.

As a member of the Committee on Energy Research and Development, he also played a key role in shaping the EU's Framework Programme for Research.

European Patent Office For further information, please contact: Rainer Osterwalder Press Officer European Patent Office 80298 MunichGermany Tel: + 49 89 2399-5012 Fax: + 49 89 2399-2850 e-mail: rosterwalder@epo.org