A forum titled “Focus Morocco”, held in Munich yesterday, marked the entry into force of an agreement allowing European patents to be validated in Morocco.
Co-organised by the EPO and the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC) and with the support of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Munich and Upper Bavaria, “Focus Morocco” was opened by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and the Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy. The Minister was accompanied by a delegation from the Moroccan Parliament.
The agreement, which entered into force on 1 March 2015, is a major step for the European patent system, as it is the first time that a non-European country recognises the legal validity of a European patent on its territory. It will also strengthen the economic benefits of the Moroccan patent system and increase the country’s attractiveness for foreign investment.
Referring to the validation agreement as “a historic development” which bears witness to many years of fruitful cooperation with Morocco, President Battistelli underlined that the recent reforms made by Morocco to its patent system will significantly contribute to raising its value for national and international applicants. He indicated that “for applicants of European patents this signifies an important administrative simplification which makes it possible to easily extend the scope of geographic protection available to them through the procedure at the EPO”.
Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy underlined the significant economic progress achieved by Morocco, which strengthens the country’s profile as a competitive economy with an attractive potential for foreign investment, and confirmed its position as a “gateway to Africa.” The Minister expressed Morocco’s wish to continue to foster links with European industry to actively participate in the economic development of the African continent. He maintained that the new IP system formed a part of Morocco’s strategy of integration into the global economy by increasing economic value.
Representing Business Europe Maaike van Velzen, IP Portfolio Manager from Philips Intellectual Property & Standards, said: “The validation agreement with Morocco offers an opportunity to obtain patents through an efficient, high-quality harmonised prosecution process. This significant step will stimulate innovation, technology transfer and economic growth in Morocco and the region.”
In a round table discussion representatives of the Moroccan patent office explained the strategies underlying the recent reforms to the national patent system and presented the novelties contained in the new Moroccan law. They also underlined the expected increased added value for local applicants that will result from the systematic search reports and written opinion on patentability for each patent application filed in Morocco.
Experts from the Moroccan Ministry presented the business climate in Morocco and representatives of European and German industry gave their views on business opportunities in the country. Further “Focus Morocco” events will take place in spring in Paris, France, and later this year in Spain, two major economic partners of Morocco in Europe.