João Negrão takes up office on 2 October 2023 as Executive Director of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). With a strong record of almost 25 years of leadership experience in the intellectual property (IP) field, the Portuguese national was appointed to the post in July 2023 by the Council of the EU for a term of five years.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Negrão said:
‘Leading the intellectual property office of the EU on its new path is an immense privilege. Together with all the staff of the EUIPO, I look forward to strengthening cooperation with IP offices and user associations across the EU, as well as with the EU institutions, to ensure that together we continue to effect positive change in the IP system.’
With almost 1,200 staff representing all 27 Member States, he leads one of the largest public service organizations in Europe and the second-largest EU decentralized agency. Headquartered in Alicante, and with a presence in Africa, America and Asia, the EUIPO registers over 170,000 trademarks and 100,000 designs annually, offering intellectual property protection with two unitary intellectual property rights that are valid across the EU.
Under his new leadership, the EU agency will take over some new competences such as Craft and Industrial Geographical Indications (GIs). The agency will also continue the collaboration with the European Commission on Agricultural GIs and support to small and medium-sized enterprises via the SME Fund.
The new Executive Director has served at the EUIPO over the past 13 years in three different capacities: as Head of the Executive Director’s Cabinet, as Director of International Cooperation and Legal Affairs, and his latest role as President of the Boards of Appeal.
Before that, he served for 10 years in the national IP office of Portugal, following several different positions in the national public administration.
Looking forward – A renewed vision for the EUIPO
Looking ahead, the new Executive Director of the EUIPO plans to implement a renewed vision for the office as a modern, highly performant, and sustainable organization, while securing and consolidating past achievements.
Future plans include completing the 2025 Strategic Plan and launching the consultation process for the next strategic cycle of the EUIPO.
Meeting the technology challenges, including the development of AI-powered solutions, delivering high value IP rights and the promotion of innovation, are also among the priorities of the new Executive Director.
Mr Negrao’s vision for the present and future of the EU agency includes an increase in transparency and accountability and ensuring financial autonomy of the EU office.
Cooperation with national IP offices, IP awareness, particularly in the digital area, and improving access to the IP system for small businesses will also top the incoming Executive Director’s agenda.
About the EUIPO
The EUIPO is one of the largest decentralized agencies of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain. Ranked as one of the most innovative IP offices in the world, the EUIPO manages the registration of the European Union trademark (EUTM) and the registered Community design (RCD), both of which provide intellectual property protection in all EU Member States. It also carries out cooperation activities with the national and regional intellectual property offices of the EU and hosts the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights.
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