In these gravest of times, the thoughts of everyone at the European Patent Office are with all those affected by the ongoing military action in Ukraine. As a visible sign of our grief and solidarity, all flags have been taken down from outside the EPO's buildings at all sites since last Friday midday.
Our Office was founded in the spirit of European and international co-operation. We stand for peace, progress and prosperity, with staff drawn from across the 38 contracting states of the European Patent Convention.
As citizens of Europe, we stand in solidarity with all those suffering from the appalling violence in Ukraine and all refugees seeking safety in other countries. Accordingly, the Office's association for social activities - the Amicale - will be organising aid efforts to help those affected. Our staff will be given the opportunity to provide voluntary contributions to aid organisations and the Office itself will also provide a direct contribution so that our collective efforts have the greatest possible positive impact. Our aim will be to ensure that the aid reaches all those affected, whether in Ukraine, in the neighbouring countries or those seeking safety, in particular in our host countries.
As an institution, we are also discussing the impact of the present crisis on our co-operation activities in the region. An immediate decision has been taken to freeze our co-operation activities with the national patent offices of the Federation of Russia and of Belarus, as well as to put on hold our co-operation activities with the Eurasian Patent Organisation. Looking ahead, we will assess and debate other possible measures and consequences with our 38 Member States, extension states and observers in preparation of the next Administrative Council meeting on 22 March.
In the days and weeks ahead, every effort must be put into promoting open and genuine dialogue as the right path to restoring lasting peace in Europe.02 March 2022