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Supporting innovation in the fourth industrial revolution: EPO, CEN and CENELEC to cooperate on standards and patents

Date

07 Mar 2019

Sections

InfoSociety
The European Patent Office (EPO), the European Committee of Standardization (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance the support they provide to industry and stakeholders in Europe and beyond in the field of standard-essential patents. It is the first MoU to be signed between the organisations.
 
The MoU establishes collaboration between CEN, CENELEC and the EPO to enhance knowledge about the relationship between standardisation and patents. Its purpose is to support inventors, innovators, researchers and industry on standard-essential patents (SEPs) in different areas of technology by promoting the dissemination of technical standards including relevant patented technologies. The agreement complements the co-operation at European level in this field which already exists between the EPO, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the European Commission.  
 
“This agreement will help us to provide inventors and innovating businesses with information about the use of standards and patents in their field of activity,” said EPO President António Campinos. “Co-operation with standardisation organisations is essential for tackling the challenges arising from the relationship between standards and patents. It will help ensure the patent system continues to support a competitive innovation environment for businesses by delivering greater transparency on standard essential patents, as well as high patent quality.” 
 
CEN and CENELEC Director General Elena Santiago Cid added: “CEN and CENELEC actively support the European innovation community and aim to efficiently integrate it in the European standardization system. With this objective, in 2018 we presented our Innovation Plan, which addresses the need to offer fast-track processes to bring research results to the market. The ability to reach the ambitions set out in the Plan will be enhanced by the collaboration with EPO. Together, we can support the European economy to be more competitive in the global knowledge-based economy”.
 
The interaction between patents and standards
The potential synergies between patents and standards have long been recognised and leveraged in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and telecommunications. They enable the latest patented technologies to be incorporated into mobile telecommunications standards, maximising technology performance and interoperability, for instance in the smartphone industry. 
 
With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, ICT related technologies are now being used more and more in many traditional areas of technology, as shown by the EPO’s recent reports on Patents and the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Patents and self-driving vehicles. The connectivity and interoperability required by the Internet of Things (IoT) means that ICT standards, as well as the patents considered essential for their implementation, are becoming increasingly important for the European economy. 
 
In the context of CEN and CENELEC’s Digital Transformation Strategy, ICT and digital standardization have been identified as a new frontier for the delivery of “state of the art” technical publications by CEN and CENELEC. The co-operation established by the MoU, is intended to support both CEN and CENELEC experts and technical groups as well as the EPO in addressing these new challenges from an informed perspective. 
 
EPO co-operation with standards organisations
The EPO co-operates with international and European standardization organisations (ESOs) to ensure that the patent system effectively contributes to the promotion of innovation and economic growth. The EPO has concluded co-operation agreements with nearly all major standards bodies, including ETSI, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Standards Association (IEEE-SA), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). 
 
CEN and CENELEC 
CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) are recognized by the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as European Standardization Organizations responsible for developing standards at European level. These standards set out specifications and procedures in relation to a wide range of materials, processes, products and services. 
The members of CEN and CENELEC are the National Standardization Bodies and National Electrotechnical Committees of 34 European countries. European Standards (ENs) and other standardization deliverables adopted by CEN and CENELEC, are accepted and recognized in all of these countries. 
European Standards (ENs) contribute to enhancing safety, improving quality, facilitating cross-border trade and strengthening the European Single Market. They are developed through a process of collaboration among experts nominated by business and industry, research institutes, consumer and environmental organizations, trade unions and other stakeholders. 
CEN and CENELEC work to promote the international alignment of standards in the framework of technical cooperation agreements with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).
CEN website: www.cen.eu
CEN-CENELEC website: www.cencenelec.eu 
 
 

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