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EPO’s Battistelli emphasises quality

The European Patent Office will not raise official fees above inflation for the next four years, President Benoît Battistelli said yesterday. Interviewed after addressing yesterday’s AIPPI IP Panel Lunch, he also promised “we will find a solution” to the controversial question of the level of renewal fees for the proposed Unitary Patent

A committee representing participating member states is discussing those fees, but has yet to publish any details. However, Battistelli said the most important criteria is that the Unitary Patent should be “business-attractive”. It must also be budget-neutral for the EPO, and reasonable for member states.

Battistelli, whose term was recently extended by the Administrative Council until 2018, said the fees would be known at least six months before the first Unitary Patents are granted, which is expected to be in 2016. “I think we could fix as a target June 2015,” he said.

He identified the successful implementation of the Unitary Patent as one of the achievements he would like to complete by 2018, along with an improved IT system, positive social relations with the Office staff, the maintenance of the EPO’s reputation for quality and the development of international cooperation. “We have increased transparency despite what some negative minds say. All the goals are known so everyone can measure them,” he said.

In his speech, Battistelli emphasised that the Office is investing in training and tools (such as the CPC, Patent Translate and Early Certainty from Search) to meet the challenges arising from a growing workload and greater complexity. It has also added 500 examiners in recent years.

He told the AIPPI Congress News that the EPO will maintain and improve quality by simplifying procedures and enabling examiners to focus on “the core issues of search, examination and opposition”. He said: “This improvement in quality is substantive and significant and is for the sake of the IP world system.”

Asked about criticisms of his initiatives, Battistelli said most people accepted the need for change and added: “The EPO is a great European success story and staff can be proud of what they have achieved.” He said the vote in the Administrative Council showed he has the support of member states and stakeholders.

Read the full interview with Battistelli here 

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