Summit gives new boost to Europe's network of patent information centres – European Patent Office

15 May 2019

Breakout session, from left to right: Olli Ilmarinen, Finnish Patent and Registration Office, chair, Jean-Philippe Muller, INPI, Ile de France, France Alban Fischer, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, Santa Lozda, National Patent Office, Latvia, Igor Bosnjakovic, State Intellectual Property Office, Croatia

At the PATLIB Summit held last week in Porto, representatives
of patent information centres from across Europe provisionally adopted a set of
recommendations aimed at boosting the EPO’s support for the PATLIB Network, and
further improving services for companies, researchers and inventors.

In his opening address, EPO President António Campinos highlighted the
contribution of Europe’s PATLIB centres to innovation in Europe, by providing
much needed advice on patents and other IP rights, particularly SMEs and
universities, over the past 30 years: “We can now offer patent information
services that were simply not possible in the early days of PATLIB,” he said.
The EPO President also welcomed the strategic summit as a means to assess how
the network could become even stronger in future: “This event is our
opportunity to explore how PATLIB centres can play a greater role in
commercialisation and technology transfer, to help European companies and
researchers to exploit the full commercial power of their intellectual property

The recommendations, developed after two days of intensive conference
sessions, are contained in a document called the Porto Paper, currently still
considered a draft to give delegates time to submit further comments. The
recommendations put an emphasis on providing a structural framework for the
PATLIB Network, and giving more freedom for the individual PATLIB centres to
expand the quality and range of the services they offer.

They include measures
such as:

  • defining
    different levels of PATLIB centres and the requirements for reaching each level
  • putting
    in place a comprehensive set of training measures
  • providing
    means for PATLIB centres to develop into IP commercialisation advice centres,
    and for them to interact with other networks, such as technology transfer
  • encouraging
    experts within PATLIB centres to share their knowledge with other members of
    the network

There are over 300 patent information centres, also known as PATLIB centres, across the EPO’s member states. Together,
they form a Pan-European network of IP expertise giving advice and providing
services to innovators in SMEs, universities and research institutions, and to
individual inventors. The network was formed more than 30 years ago, and the summit
was the first event since then to go to the core of its concept, looking at a
major revision of the way it works – an initiative dubbed “PATLIB 2.0”.

PATLIB 2019 summitThe event brought together some 100 PATLIB centres, national patent
offices of the EPO’s member states, and a wide range of innovation support
experts, including European and international organisations involved in IP,
technology transfer and innovation.

Together, they analysed the status quo and the needs of PATLIB
centres’ users. External experts provided a different perspective, challenging
delegates to go beyond their traditional activities and look more closely at
areas such as technology transfer and IP in a business context.

was an energetic summit with a lot of hope to evolve,” said Sander De Vrieze of
Belgian research centre Centexbel, one of the participants.

Closing the summit, EPO Vice-President Christoph Ernst said: “We
will analyse what the recommendations mean and what options we have for
implementing them in a meaningful way that brings true benefits to all PATLIB
centres and their users.”

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