On 9 September 2021, a FICPI delegation, including FICPI officers from all over the world and headed by the FICPI President, Julian Crump, met virtually with a high-profile delegation of the EPO under the lead of the President of the EPO, Mr. António Campinos.

The meeting was held as videoconference owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The agenda covered an update on the situation at the EPO, an update on UPP/UPC, the European Inventor Award (EIA) 2022, Oral Proceedings by Videoconference, Validation Agreement and Reinforced Partnership, Changes to the EQE, Digitalisation and Compulsory amendments of the description.

Validation Agreements with non-EPC states

Validation Agreements with non-EPC states were discussed intensively. FICPI’s position was presented by Michael Caine, Vice President of FICPI’s Study & Work Committee (CET), who referred to FICPI’s resolution which supported harmonisation of patent laws, but was opposed to centralisation of IP work in a few “hot spots” around the world.

Michael felt that the measure of success of such Agreements was not how many patents were granted to foreigners in Validation States, but rather, how many European patents were granted to applicants from Validation States. This would be a much better indicator of how well the Agreements had succeeded in stimulating local innovation and the development of a local profession.

Mr Campinos noted that it takes a long time to establish an IP infrastructure in countries, where an effective IP community is still growing. FICPI understood from the EPO that such Validation Agreements are to be viewed as just one measure to establish and grow an IP infrastructure and an IP community, and the EPO supports this process by training and knowledge transfer through education.

The almost 3-hour meeting wrapped up with the hope of an in-person visit next year. The President invited the EPO to send observers to the next FICPI Open Forum, on 3-5 November 2021, while the EPO asked FICPI to  promote the European Inventor of the Year Award for 2022, which will include a Young Inventors category for the first time. Moreover, FICPI was offered a demonstration of several new digital platforms at the EPO and will gladly follow up on this invitation to provide further input from the perspective of IP professionals from all over the world.

FICPI’s view and involvement

FICPI’s active programme of engagement with IP Offices around the world helps to ensure a platform for open and frequent discussions and the opportunity to put forward FICPI’s views on topics, representing independent intellectual property attorneys around the world and reinforcing the importance of the work of independent IP attorneys.

Next steps
If you would like to get involved with FICPI’s committees, including CET, PEC and TEC, please visit the links below to find out more:


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Report on a Virtual Meeting between the Boards of Appeal at the EPO and FICPI, held on 14 September 2021