On Thursday 5 October, on behalf of BOIP, Ragnar Gustafsson (Director General) attended the celebratory event held to mark the 50th anniversary of the European Patent Convention. The event took place simultaneously at all branches of the European Patent Office.
The 50th anniversary of the European Patent Convention is a key milestone. The Convention, signed on 5 October 1973, marked the creation of the European Patent Organisation and its implementing authority, the European Patent Office (EPO). This laid the foundations for the European patent system.
Roots in the Netherlands
The establishment of the European patent system has its roots in the Netherlands. The precursor to the EPO - the International Patent Institute - was set up in Rijswijk as the first central intergovernmental authority in Europe providing patent examination and documentation services. The integration of that Institute into the EPO in 1978 was a key milestone for the EPO, which had just been established. The knowledge and expertise of the some 700 staff who joined the EPO at the time were vital to provide the high quality that European patents are still known for today. In addition, integrating the two organisations provided synergy with the work of the patent examiners who were already employed at the EPO headquarters in Munich.
Celebrating 5 decades of innovation protection
To mark the 50th anniversary of the European Patent Convention, the EPO organised a hybrid celebratory event on 5 October, which was live-streamed from Berlin, Vienna, Brussels, The Hague and Munich. The celebrations featured a number of special guests, who were present either live or virtually, including His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany, Rumen Radev, President of Bulgaria, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Micky Adriaansens, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy in the Netherlands.
Ragnar Gustafsson: “It was an honour to participate and mark this historic occasion with you. I wholeheartedly support the mission of the EPO to stimulate innovation and with it the growth of the internal European market and prosperity for all of us. On behalf of BOIP, congratulations to the whole of the European Patent Office and its staff!”
About the EPO
The European Patent Office (EPO) employs 6,300 staff and is one of the largest public service providers in Europe. With its headquarters in Munich and offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was set up to strengthen cooperation in the field of patents in Europe. Through the EPO’s centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high quality patent protection in 44 countries, thereby covering a market of approximately 700 million people. The EPO is also a prominent authority in terms of patent information and searching for patents.
The very first patent granted by the EPO was in January 1980 for a device that determines whether coins inserted in parking meters and train ticket machines are authentic. Since then, the EPO has granted more than 2 million European patents for technological breakthroughs, many of which have changed our world: from the QR code and MP3 format to life-saving vaccines.