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Welcome by EPO

by Mr. Ingo Kober, President, European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (EPO) is an excellent example of successful regional cooperation in the field of patents. It was set up with the aim of introducing a Europe-wide protection of inventions and to support innovation, competitiveness and economic growth for the benefit of the citizens of Europe. This was achieved by adopting the European Patent Convention (EPC), which makes it possible to obtain such protection in several or all of the 27 contracting states by a single patent grant procedure, and establishes standard rules governing the treatment of patents granted by this procedure.

More than two decades have clearly demonstrated the advantages of this approach. The European patent system is still growing in size, and the EPO is dedicated to rendering it even more efficient and cost-effective, and better adapted to the applicant?s needs.

Since its inception, the EPO has engaged in technical co-operation with third countries by making available the organisation?s vast experience in the granting of patents. Projects in many countries and regions of central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia are being carried out, some of them on behalf of the European Commission with the aim of building up and modernising industrial property systems to bring them into line with the provisions of the TRIPs Agreement. They also serve to establish a sound legal framework for investment and technology transfer as part of these countries? trade and industry relations with the European Union and other European states.

The ECAP programme is one of the outstanding examples of this co-operation in the region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN and provides assistance to eight of its member countries, namely, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The EC-ASEAN Patent and Trademarks Programme (ECAP I) ran from September 1993 until June 1997 to promote ASEAN countries? systems for the protection of industrial property rights and following the positive response from ASEAN countries, was continued in greater scope with the EC-ASEAN Intellectual Property Programme (ECAP II).

ECAP II, for which the EPO is the lead implementing agency, was formally launched in August 2000 and encompasses all areas of intellectual property rights. It specifically responds to the needs of the ASEAN countries in their bid to participate in a rapidly expanding global market in which the use and protection of intellectual property rights plays a key role.

In addition to its own staff resources, the EPO relies for the implementation of project activities on the collaboration with national patent offices in Europe, professional representatives, and independent specialists in providing the high quality expertise that became the hallmark of the ECAP I project.

A glance at the development of patent filings underlines the importance of the ECAP programme: at global level, nearly 700,000 new inventions from all over the world are disclosed each year in patent applications, which in their turn can be the subject of multiple subsequent filings. Accordingly, global demand for patent rights rose from 2.7m in 1994 to more than 7m in 1999.

This development is also reflected in growing patenting activity in the ASEAN states and an increasing tendency on the part of ASEAN companies to expand their patent strategies to the European market. In the past five years, companies from ASEAN have increased their patent activities in Europe significantly. Their number has risen from 15 in 1996 to 120 in 2000. ECAP II is particularly suited to encourage this development and to facilitate the way for ASEAN companies to enter the European market.

ASEAN?s commitment to further improvement of protection of IP remains strong. Building on the excellent relations that the EPO has established in the region, it can be expected that ECAP II will be as successful as ECAP I in contributing to this important evolution.

Mr. Ingo Kober, President, EPO Mr. Ingo Kober,
European Patent Office

Last Update: 12.05.2003
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication is the sole responsibility of ECAP II and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

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Copies of Proceedings from the following events are now available:

1. IP Valuation and Commercialization for SMES in Manila, 22-23 March 2004.
2. EU-ASEAN Workshop on Data Protection (Pharmaceuticals) Bangkok, 29-30 April 2004
3. IP Valuation and Commercialisation for SMEs in Bangkok, 17-18 March 2004

To receive a copy, please email your request, along with full name and mailing address to
ECAP II Press Officer Miss Supapohn Kanwerayotin :

Local Coordination Unit (LCU)
in Bangkok:

ECAP II newsletter
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1st Issue 2003 [PDF,700 KB]

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2nd Issue 2003 [PDF,700 KB]

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To request a hardcopy, please contact ASEAN IPOs, or

The ECAP Partners
ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs)
European Commission
European Patent Office
Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market
Useful links
Asia Law & Practice
BNIC-Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac
Commission on Intellectual Property Rights
EC agriculture
EC EuropeAid
EC external relations
EC internal market
EC Taxation and Customs Union
EC trade
IP Academy Singapore
Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law
oriGIn - Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network
Queen Mary, University of London
Useful IP links
WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization
WIPO Abbreviations
WTO - World Trade Organization