50 most influential people in IP 2023: Kurt Haertel
Haertel was a patent lawyer and president of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office
The European Patent Convention marked its 50th birthday earlier this year with a celebratory event in Munich. The EPC created both the EPO and the legal system under which European patents are granted.
One person who was sadly not there to celebrate was the late Kurt Haertel.
Haertel, a former patent lawyer and president of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) who died in 2000, is widely credited as one of the leading figures in the formation of the EPC, which came into effect on October 5 1973.
Haertel was president of the DPMA at a time when the EPC was merely an idea, and played a leading role in ensuring it became a reality.
Such is his enduring influence that, since 2003, a street in Munich connecting two of the main EPO buildings has been named the Kurt Haertel Passage.
The Kurt Haertel Institute for Intellectual Property, part of the Faculty of Law of Fern Universität in Hagen, is also named in his honour.
The institute’s website says Haertel is considered the “father of European patent law”.
A worthy inclusion in this seminal year for the European patent framework, which also saw the Unified Patent Court come into being.