ETSI and European Patent Office announce new collaboration

A new Memorandum of Understanding aims to strengthen the collaboration between standards organization ETSI and the European Patent Office.
By: Paul Reid, ETSI
Nov. 25, 2009 - PRLog -- The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding confirming their commitment to work together to better serve industry in Europe and beyond.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the two organizations today in Cannes, France on the occasion of ETSI's 54th General Assembly. Under the terms of the MoU, the two organizations will increase their co-operation in matters of standards and intellectual property. Specifically, they agree to share knowledge, information and documentation on technology and standards, to collaborate on education related to standards and IP issues, and to co-operate to interlink ETSI’s enhanced intellectual property rights database system with the EPO’s publicly accessible patent databases. (ETSI is currently restructuring its IPR database in order to improve transparency.)

The Memorandum is a further milestone in the long-lasting and fruitful relationship between ETSI and the EPO which started when the EPO became a member of ETSI in 2003. Among a variety of collaborative actions, ETSI has provided EPO examiners access to its documents in order to facilitate their work and improve the identification of “prior art”.

"The EPO is convinced that a closer and institutionally backed co-operation between the major standard developing organizations and patent offices will help to improve the interface between patents and standards and create transparency," says Wim van der Eijk, the EPO's ad interim Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs. "In the case of ETSI, this agreement underlines the already existing good co-operation between two key European institutions and strengthens our wider strategy in connection with standards."

"I see this agreement with the EPO as a strengthening of our already very good co-operation by establishing, in addition to the EPO’s current membership of ETSI, a wide-ranging and flexible mechanism for guiding and protecting our members' intellectual property interests," says Walter Weigel, ETSI Director-General. "Standards and IPR are inseparable companions that are vital to today's innovators and exploiters of new technologies."

As part of its overall strategy, the EPO has been seeking closer involvement with standards organizations in recent years to ensure that the patent system contributes to the promotion of innovation and a healthy, competitive environment for business. For this reason, the EPO concluded a MoU with the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc Standards Association (IEEE-SA) in July 2009 and is also in talks with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on a similar agreement.

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About ETSI
ETSI produces globally-applicable ICT standards, including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, aeronautical, broadcast and IP technologies. An independent, not-for-profit association, ETSI's 716 member companies come from 62 countries worldwide.
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