This week, September 9th, an educational event organized by the European Patent Institute (EPI) took place in Barcelona.
People from different countries, mainly from Spain, attended the lectures about the opposition and appeal procedures before the European Patent Office.
You may think that you are familiar enough with the practice of the Opposition Divisions and Boards of Appeal, but you must not relax. You can feel comfortable with all the rules and details involved, but a modification of a specific point in the Guidelines, a new case of the Enlarged Boards of Appeal, a new Decision of the President will make you to stay alert.
Therefore, it is great to have these opportunities to take a break and spend one day listening to experts and returning to the office with fresh knowledge and even material to look at when you have to cope with the next opposition case somebody drops on your desk.
It is interesting to listen some tips about how to file a “decent” opposition when the client places an order the day before the deadline. What is more important: filing grounds of opposition without good arguments and/or documents, or filing documents first?.
It is important to find out about the pending cases before the Enlarged Boards of Appeal that could give rise to decisions diverging from the Guildelines and establishing new case law.
On the way home you make the decision of dedicating at least one hour a week – it is not much – updating your knowledge, and several weeks later you realize how difficult is to keep your word. We are so busy that we are looking forward to spending a day again as when we were students, we are lifelong learners!.
Many people in Spain are returning home and back to work again after the holidays. Some have even suggested that the actual beginning of the year is September 1st or more precisely, the day when the school year starts in our country.
During this summer some patent related events took place: for example, the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) travelled to the Netherlands to lay the foundation stone for the new building of this organism in that country. These facilities will provide working places for 1750 persons. Not bad at all!. This means that patents play a relevant role in the economy of many countries, and that the EPO continues to be a major player among the European Organisations.
Another interesting event took place in Santander where the President of the European Patent Office also travelled to discuss and promote the collaboration of the EPO and Spain with the Latin American countries in patent related matters. One of the goals is to improve access to and the public dissemination of Latin American patent information. Even if it sounds a bit pessimistic, it has to be said that in Latin America, as it happens in Spain, a first essential thing to achieve is to have a high number of patents, at all, to spread.
In order to finish our today comments with a piece of good news, we can tell that back from holidays we are glad to see that there are several positions as patent examiner at the Spanish Patent Office to be ocupied by future patent experts – because these persons are not (most probably) patent experts yet – . These are not as many as we would like them to be, but at least five persons will have a job in the near future. We wonder whether these vacancies are the consequence of the retirement of former workers or whether they are the consequence of an increasing working load of the patent examination department. The second option seems to be less probable, at least judging by the number of new national patent applications filed so far this year.
In any case, it is good news and, who knows?, a hint of the recovery of the Spanish economy?.