Intellectual Property, A Platform for Prosperity

Valgerdur Sverrisdottir Minister of Industry and Commerce


Honourable Mr. Pompidou,

President of the European Patent Organisation.

Dear guests from the European Union, EPI, mainland Europe and Iceland,

including one of our newest and best-known communities,


Distinguished audience.

It is a a plesure to welcome you all to this conference,

Intellectual Property: A Platform for Prosperity,

which is organized by the Icelandic Patent Office and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to celebrate two milestones in the field of intellectual property rights in Iceland.

Firstly, it is the fifteenth anniversary of the Icelandic Patent Office. The Patent Office was established as an independent institution on the first of July 1991. Before that time, all matters regarding industrial intellectual property rights were handled by the Ministry of Industry. This environment has changed a lot during the last fifteen years – not the least as a result of many international commitments that Iceland has undertaken.

Secondly, we want to celebrate the accession of Iceland to the European Patent Convention. It is my belief, that we took an important step in intellectual property rights development by adhering to the convention as from the first of November 2004.

The objective of the conference is to throw light on the importance of intellectual property for innovation, industry and commerce. Furthermore, it is our wish that we can direct attention to the enormous economical value of intellectual property rights for society in general.

My Ministry is responsible for industry, including intellectual property rights, and commerce which, in light of the aim of this conference, has a special relevance here today.

The Icelandic government has in recent years aimed to create a good business environment here in Iceland – an environment that provides oportunities for different kind of businesses to develop.

The taxation system has improved in many ways, and recently the Parlament has passed bills encouraging innovation through the Innovation Fund by facilitating the participation of pension funds in a special type of limited companies where some parties have unlimited responsibilities.

I acknowledge that one of the necessary conditions for a knowledge-based economy is a clear intellectual property policy.

And we are well aware of the importance of a sound legal environment and reliable administration. Therefore, we have aimed at strenghtening the legal framework to the extent possible, and opened up oportunities for the protection of different kinds of intellectual property rights.

Here I want to mention that important steps were taken in connection with the Agreement on the European Economic Area when we in the 1990s acceeded to many significant agreements in this field, such as the Patent Co-operation Treaty and the Madrid Protocol.

And by adherence to the World Trade Organization we amended our legislation in line with the TRIPS-agreement.

Last but not least we acceded to the European Patent Convention as from November 2004 and became part of a successful system which can grant patents covering a geographical area of more than 540 million inhabitants.

It is an honour for us all to have so many high-level specialists and company representatives to share with us today their knowledge and experiences.

The conference is opened.