The opening ceremony of Nordic Patent Institute

After many years of preparations and effort put into the project, the Nordic Patent Institute finally became a reality. The 10 January 2008, the Institute was officially launched at the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, where the Institute will reside.

The Nordic Patent Institute officially opened on 1st January 2008, but the opening ceremony took place on 10th January, when the three directors from the national patent offices Ásta Valdimarsdóttir, Jørgen Smith and Jesper Kongstad, and the director of the Institute Niels Ravn, could welcome all the teams involved in the project, as well as the interested parties who attended the ceremony, to the new PCT-authority.

Before the opening ceremony began,
the four directors gave an introductory presentation.

Four directors Niels Ravn, Jesper Kongstad, Ásta Valdimarsdóttir, Jørgen Smith

Niels Ravn, Jesper Kongstad, Ásta Valdimarsdóttir, Jørgen Smith

Ásta Valdimarsdóttir, the Director General of the Icelandic Patent Office, took the participants back to the 1960's where the initial idea of a Nordic patent and a joint Nordic patent authority arose. This never materialised, but some years ago the idea of cooperation was taken up again, this time on PCT work. Initially, all the Nordic countries participated in the discussion regarding the first models of the Institute. Since the participating countries could not reach an agreement, the cooperation was reduced to three countries, who agreed regarding a new patent authority and signed a contract in 2006. "Together with the approval by WIPO, the signing of a cooperation agreement with EPO, the final certification of the Nordic Patent Institute in December 2007 and the launch today, these episodes are all milestones on the way of the realization of the Institute", said Ásta Valdimarsdóttir.

The Director General of the Norwegian Industrial Property Office Jørgen Smith spoke of the national perspectives regarding Nordic Patent Institute. He noted that the thoughts behind the Institute revolved around keeping patent competencies in the Nordic countries and keeping the patent offices competitive with the other world patent offices. "Today we have an Institute, which can compete with the others on features like the closeness to the applicants and common grounds like language and culture, which make the contact between the Institute and the applicants much easier. I believe that these features will be decisive as to where the Nordic applicants will file in the future", said Jørgen Smith.

The national perspectives regarding the Institute were followed up by the global perspectives, presented by Jesper Kongstad, the Director General of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office: "The global IP scene is changing, the awareness of the need of protecting knowledge in the world is getting bigger, and the increase of filings will overburden the system in Europe. We must prepare the European companies to this challenge and actuate them to continue working globally. Through the Nordic Patent Institute, we have created a quicker and local access to the PCT system for Nordic companies."

Representing approximately 8000 Danish companies, many of them IP users, Kim Haggren from the Confederation of Danish Industries also welcomed the Institute: "The IP system is used a lot, also internationally. But international filings have been marked by backlogs and changing quality, which has resulted in fewer companies filing internationally. That is a problem for innovation. So if the Institute can maintain its competitive factors, like delivery time and no backlogs, high quality, flexibility and competitive prices, the Institute will be a success and perhaps be an inspiration to other similar projects, like for example a joint court system."

Afterwards, the Director of the Nordic Patent Institute Niels Ravn stated that the Institute estimates that it will receive approximately 200 applications in 2008, increasing to 500 applications over the next two years. As for maintaining the competitive factors of the Institute, Niels Ravn mentioned that it will continue with quality assurance via feed back from users, harmonisation within the Institute and close cooperation with the EPO. It would be a guiding principle of the Institute to meet the needs of its users. Regarding the future of the Institute, Niels Ravn had no doubts: "We will be a success!"

At the reception, Tine Roed from the Confederation of Danish Industries cut the red ribbon and inaugurated the new Institute.

Tine Roed cuts the red ribbon
Tine Roed cuts the red ribbon

Read more about how Norway and Iceland marked the launching of the new organisation.