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UOC professor named new director of the European Patent Office's European Patent Academy

Raquel Xalabarder, former dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, has been in her new position since mid-August

Raquel Xalabarder, Professor of Intellectual Property and until now dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), has been appointed director of the European Patent Office's (EPO) European Patent Academy. The mission of the institution she will lead is to provide quality education in the field of patents. The new position, which she took up in mid-August, represents "academic and professional recognition" for the professor as well as for the university, as she explained herself.

Xalabarder has joined the EPO in response to the European Patent Academy's commitment to e-learning: "Over the last few years, the European Patent Academy has been reviewing its range of courses and teaching methods, turning towards modular and online teaching," she said. She remarked that the position comes as "endorsement" of her experience of 26 years at the UOC (initially as a professor and later as director of the Law programme, assistant to the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Teaching Staff, and until recently as dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science), but also and "especially the UOC's pioneering work in the field of distance teaching since its creation in 1995".


New role and tasks

In her new position, Xalabarder will have to "plan, manage and implement the courses offered by the EPO; launch initiatives and projects with universities and companies to promote innovation and economic growth; and strengthen the network of partner organizations both within the EPO's member states and beyond, in accordance with the EPO's strategic cooperation priorities,” she explained.


The European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (EPO) is the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation, an international body created in 1977 under the European Patent Convention. It has now grown to 39 member states in Europe (including the 27 EU member states). Spain joined in 1986.

Its mission is to cooperate and provide quality services in the field of patents in order to promote innovation, economic growth and competition in the markets.

Of all the activities carried out by the EPO, the most important is the patent examination service. EPO examiners make a single assessment of patent applications from around the world. This examination by the EPO subsequently serves to apply for the corresponding national patents in the member countries. It is a centralized and uniform process that makes it possible to obtain national patents (in the chosen countries) through a single examination request "that simplifies and reduces the cost of the process by not having to repeat this examination in the various countries in which the applicant wants to patent their invention," explained Xalabarder. Now, with the recent implementation of the Unitary Patent in the EU, the EPO examination can have a direct effect in 17 EU member states (Spain is not taking part for now) if the applicant so wishes.