For a Renewal of epi towards Transparency-Collaboration-Communication

epi Board

Dear epi members,

As we were elected into the Board of our Institute at C94 in Malmö, we would like to share in the following with all of you our program which we substantially presented to Council in preparation of our election. We are looking forward to working with all epi constituencies and Committees to better understand the needs and concerns of our members so that we can develop means and proposals how epi could help and address the future challenges for our profession.

With the arrival of the Unitary Patent / Unified Patent Court and new emerging technologies, our European patent attorney profession is standing at the dawn of the biggest change in decades, with further changes looming ahead, requiring the profession to embrace trends in early stage, learn faster, act faster, and change faster than ever before. This requires a change in the epi as well, bringing Transparency – Collaboration – Communication to the heart of what we do: understand our members and support them, build bridges to the EPO, the UPC, the EU, national organizations and other international organizations, and provide the profession with the tools and knowledge they need to be top-notch world class in everything they do.

The new epi Board, elected during the 94th epi Council meeting, is ready to embrace change and build the future of the European patent attorney profession.

From left to right:
Magdalena Augustyniak (PL), Secretary General – Tiem Reijns (NL), epi Vice-President – Zsolt Szentpéteri (HU), Treasurer – Ann De Clercq (BE), Deputy Secretary General – Peter R. Thomsen (CH) - epi President, Andreas Winter (DE), Deputy Treasurer – Katerina Hartvichova (CZ), epi Vice-President

Our Vision

Transparency stands for more openness towards our members: we need to better listen to and understand the concerns and needs of the various groups constituting epi’s membership. But Transparency means also to be clear about what we expect from our external partners and what they can expect from us. Transparency stands for openness for new ideas and developments concerning the profession, to finally learn faster, act better, and adjust smarter.

Our vision of Transparency includes therefore:

  • Involving all Council members and epi members from every country in identifying their needs and defining the way in which epi can contribute. Awareness of the needs will enable us to work on what unites us and allow us to understand where and why we differ.

  • Being a transparent and a reliable ally to our members but also to our partners, in particular EPO, UPC, EU, national offices, national institutes and other organizations by offering a view of the patent system from the user and representative perspective allowing to shape the future of the patent system and our profession together.

  • Identifying new challenges or “hot topics” early on, determining what our profession needs, followed by a realistic analysis of the political options in order to be able to finally constructively work with our partners, to make them aware of the needs of the profession and finding common solutions. One example is the influence of Artificial Intelligence on the way of working of patent attorneys. We would institute a Working Group looking into that aspect, together with external expertise and if needed propose further academic research to better assess the impact, opportunities and risks for our profession.

Collaboration stands for working together towards common goals, first internally between the epi Presidium, the Board, the Council, the Committees and Working Groups and the Secretariat. Collaboration means also looking for the best suitable cooperation partners externally for our profession, to learn faster, act better, and adjust smarter

Our vision of Collaboration includes therefore:

  • Facilitating forming of the Presidium and Board as one functional team.

  • Actively involving the epi bodies. Giving the committees - the lifeblood of epi - the room to present their needs and share their aims, goals and achievements towards Council, Board, Presidium and the whole epi membership, e.g. by epi website and social media. In turn, ensuring that the work of the Committees is properly coordinated, e.g. in case of overlapping topics.

  • Involving the Secretariat members including the Executive Director in cooperation and finding ways for a more productive interaction between the epi bodies and epi Secretariat. Sharing information, clear communication and having a transparent decision-making structure within epi will lead to a better understanding of the needs and also of the possibilities, and therefore better collaboration.

  • Engaging with the EPO. Building bridges, understanding the differences and finding common interests and jointly working on the best solutions, e.g. on the further digitalization roadmap. We will not always agree, but even creating mutual understanding of each other’s concerns inherently leads to keeping those concerns in mind and in perspective finding the solution that may address the needs of all sides.

  • Engaging with the UPC. Ensure together with other observer-user organizations that the UPC becomes a properly functioning, high-quality patent Court and that members of our profession deciding to work with the UPC obtain and maintain that possibility.

  • epi must be a reliable and trustworthy partner in any discussion. We should not oversell, overpromise or overplay but still be a competent partner bringing value with our presence in the discussions.

  • Education is the basis of our top-notch world class profession and to keep us world class we need to keep the education developing at the same pace. epi should offer education in new relevant areas based on the needs of the patent profession (e.g. what do I need to consider when I want to set up a small patent private practice firm?) and should also collaborate with new partners where it brings additional value.

  • Making sure that the entrance into the profession, the EQE, remains a reliable, predictable and reputable exam.

  • Identifying factors that hinder valuable innovation getting appropriate protection as a basis for a successful development into newly marketed useful products; seeing how epi could help its members, particularly those from the new countries, to unleash their full potential in offering their services and expertise to companies and clients from inside and outside Europe.

Communication stands for improved internal communication and transparency, keeping the members informed and involved in the epi activities, and for improved external communication which serves for clarifying and defending our interests.

Our vision of Communication includes therefore:

  • Using the information from the interaction with the members, internal and external stakeholders to formulate an epi Vision and Mission for the next 3-6 years to be discussed and agreed by Council.

  • Based on the set Vision and Mission define a communication strategy on “seeking information”, “sharing information” and “using information” with a focus on where information sharing by epi can make a unique impact.

  • Present and propose to Council the best options to improve epi’s Communication and the necessary resources. Renew existing communication channels, such as epi website, epi forum and epi information, and where needed, create new ones.

  • Building the PR/communication awareness within the epi bodies and epi Secretariat and actively using it.

  • Increasing the use of epi social media and setting up mechanisms for creating content.

  • Supporting communication channels and networking between epi Committees.

We are ready to embark together on a journey towards a member-centric, renewed, transparent, cooperative, and communicative epi serving the goals of our entire patent professional community.

Thank you for your kind attention.