RQN attorney, Paul Taylor, has been elected as Chair of the U.S. Bar – European Patent Office Liaison Council.
For over 30 years, this Council has met annually with officials of the EPO, representing U.S. users of the EPO’s services. Typically, the meetings alternate annually between an EPO office in Europe and a location in the United States, often adjoining a meeting of one of the U.S. national IP groups.
The Council exists solely for the purpose of these meetings with the EPO, and providing a communications channel between the EPO and U.S. national, regional and local IP groups. It comprises one or two delegates from each of over 30 U.S. IP organizations. In addition to delegates, past chairs of the Council and guests invited by the current Chair may also participate in Council meetings.
Because U.S. applicants file more applications in the EPO than those of any other country and because the Council represents many U.S. organizations, it has access to the EPO at the highest levels. Typically, its President, at least one Vice President, and several Directors-General and Directors, including representatives of the examining and the international cooperation groups, represent the EPO. In addition, since the EPO Boards of Appeal recently gained more independent status, the Council has met with the President of the Boards and Board members in the Munich area.
The main meeting usually starts with a report by the EPO President and general discussion of European and international patent law and procedure harmonization at a high level. Then, there typically is a series of presentations by the EPO and U.S. delegates on specific topics on the agenda, for example, EPO initiatives, and problems encountered by examiners and applicants during examination of U.S. origin applications. The EPO has been very open to receiving the Council’s comments and has responded to them, while at the same time presenting its own plans and positions.