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A renewed Memorandum of Understanding further strengthens the co-operation between leading standards organisation IEEE-SA and the EPO

Shuang Yu, Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing
IEEE Standards Association
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Oswald Schröder, Spokesperson
European Patent Office
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PISCATAWAY, N.J., USA; MUNICH, GERMANY, 11 June 2013 - The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) confirming their commitment to work together to better serve industry worldwide. The first agreement of this kind between the two organisations was signed in July 2009.

The MoU was signed by the two organisations at the EPO's headquarters in Munich, Germany. Under the terms of the MoU, the two organisations will increase their co-operation in matters of standards and intellectual property (IP) and work closely to identify areas of mutual interest. They also agree to collaborate on IP issues and educational materials relating to standards and patents.

The renewal of the MoU is a further milestone in the long-lasting and fruitful relationship between the IEEE-SA and the EPO. Among a variety of collaborative actions, the IEEE-SA continues to provide its standards development documents and related data to the EPO and confirms that the EPO may use them for the purpose of the patenting process in all its phases, with the aim of maximising patent quality in related areas by improving the identification of relevant prior art for deciding on novelty and inventiveness of patent applications in electronics.

"I am convinced that this closer co-operation between the EPO and the IEEE-SA will help to improve the interface between patents and standards, creating transparency and enhancing the synergy potential between these two key elements of the global knowledge economy," says Raimund Lutz, the EPO's Vice-President for Legal and International Affairs. "In the case of the IEEE-SA, this agreement not only underlines the already good co-operation between two key institutions, but also strengthens the EPO's wider strategy in connection with standards."

"Open, voluntary and bottom-up standards serve and even create global markets," says Konstantinos Karachalios, IEEE-SA Managing Director. "They do so through an inclusive and non-discriminatory process, regarding the possibility to participate and co-shape the standard, and the broad affordability of the outcome. The way privately owned technologies are incorporated in such standards is of paramount importance for the affordability of the end product and, thus, a crucial indicator for the real openness of the process. The Memorandum of Understanding between the EPO and IEEE-SA — the first ever concluded between a patent office and a standardization organization — aims exactly at improving the transparency at the interface and the quality of both systems."

As part of its overall strategy, the EPO has been seeking closer involvement with standards organisations 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 has concluded similar agreements with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

About the IEEE Standards Association
The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. For more information visit the IEEE-SA Web site.

About IEEE
IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at the IEEE Web site. external link

About the EPO
With almost 7 000 employees, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest European public service institutions. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching. For more information, visit the EPO Web site. external link