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Exclusive: French govt declares for INTA chief in EUIPO race


French ministers have written to EU member states to garner support for Etienne Sanz de Acedo’s bid to succeed Christian Archambeau

  • Inside look at French government position

  • Background to the campaign and next steps

The French government has backed INTA CEO Etienne Sanz de Acedo to be the next executive director of the EUIPO, Managing IP can confirm.

Two senior French ministers wrote to national intellectual property offices last Wednesday, February 15, to say the INTA chief had the full support of the French government.

Sanz de Acedo’s application for the role had not been made public until now.

The letter, seen by Managing IP, said Sanz de Acedo had all the qualities to build on the EUIPO’s success to date.

“We have the honour to inform you of the candidacy of Etienne Sanz de Acedo Hecquet to become executive director of the EUIPO,” said a translated version of the letter, which was originally written in French.

“[His] professional experience and expertise are essential assets for the management of an EU agency such as the EUIPO, in agreement with the member states, the EU institutions, and the European and international IP organisations.

“He also has a strong network within the global intellectual property ecosystem, allowing him to understand the current and future challenges faced by IP rights holders,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna.

Sanz de Acedo, who worked at the EUIPO from 1997 to 2013, has been rumoured to be a candidate to succeed incumbent Christian Archambeau later this year but has not commented publicly on the matter.

Last Wednesday, February 15, Managing IP reported exclusively that EUIPO Boards of Appeal president João Negrão had applied for the post with the support of the Portuguese government.

EUIPO deputy chief executive Andrea Di Carlo is also in the race and has received public support from the Italian government.

The EUIPO’s management board, made up of representatives from member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission, will nominate Archambeau's successor in June.

The nominee will take the post in October, subject to the approval of the European Council.

Managing IP has contacted the French government for comment.

Sanz de Acedo declined to comment on this story.

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