New European Patent Office chief calls for quality

The new president of the European Patent Office (EPO) Alison Brimelow has started her term in office with a vow to improve the quality of patents issued by the office.

Brimelow said: “The task now is to make sure that the patents that we grant are relevant. What we need is not more patents, but more good patents. This will enable the EPO to remain a confident and competent organisation, which can continue to set the global benchmark in patenting.”

One of her priorities will be to smooth tensions between patent examiners and management. In April this year EPO examiners wrote a letter complaining that the heavy workloads were stopping them from doing their jobs properly.

Brimelow was elected president in December 2003 by the administrative council of the EPO. From 2003 to 2006 she was deputy chair of the council. Before that she spent four years at the helm of the UK Patent Office. Brimelow will serve a three-year term as EPO president.