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The European Patent Organisation celebrates 50th Anniversary

This week,  Europe  celebrated the 50th anniversary of the European Patent Convention (EPC), a key milestone in the journey to support innovation and European integration. The Convention, signed on 5 October 1973, created the European Patent Organisation and its implementing authority, the European Patent Office (EPO), and laid the foundations for the European patent system, which has fostered innovation and economic growth across Europe for the last five decades.

To commemorate this historical event the EPO held a public hybrid event  on, paying homage to the achievements of the EPC and all those involved. Streamed worldwide, the celebrations featured distinguished personalities such as King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands; Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Rumen Radev, President of Bulgaria, and Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “It is only fitting that the 50th anniversary of the European Patent Convention coincides with the 30th birthday of the European single market. Patents and competitiveness are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, it is excellent that the European Commission and the EPO work so closely together. And there is no better example of our outstanding cooperation than the Unitary Patent system. Simulations suggest that this system could generate nearly 2 billion euros in additional foreign direct investment into the European Union. Businesses in Europe can finally begin to benefit from a single market for technology”.

The signing of the European Patent Convention 50 years ago marked the beginning of a successful regional collaboration to help inventors share their ideas beyond borders”, said the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres. “Innovation is vital to sustainable development. It drives progress in food systems, healthcare, clean energy, and many other areas that improve people’s lives worldwide. Halfway to the deadline for the 2030 Agenda, we must come together to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals, accelerate climate action and leave no one behind”.


Celebrating five decades of growth and prosperity

The very first patent granted by the EPO was in January 1980 for a device that determines if coins placed in parking meters and train ticket machines are authentic. Since then, the EPO has granted over 2 million European patents for technological breakthroughs, many of which have changed our world; from the well-known QR code and MP3 format to life-saving vaccines and cutting-edge automotive stability systems.

From just 16 signatory states in 1973, the European Patent Organisation now boasts a membership of 39 member states. Thanks to additional validation and extension agreements, the EPO’s centralised patent granting procedure now enables companies, researchers and inventors to obtain a high-quality patent valid in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people.

The EPO  employs staff 6 300 , across its headquarters in Munich, and in offices in The Hague (Rijswijk) , Berlin, Vienna and Brussels.  The Hague office employs  2600 people.


https://www.thehagueonline.com/news/2023/10/06/the-european-patent-organisation-celebrates-50th-anniversary The European Patent Organisation celebrates 50th Anniversary

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