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Your Business First


The key to EP&C's 85 years of success

EP&C Open Up 85 jaarEP&C celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. Eighty-five years is a long time. It's a tremendous achievement with constant growth and development, even in the recent period where there’s been Covid, conflicts and economic fluctuations. Still, I am not really surprised that we've reached this milestone. In fact, I bet that we’re still going to be around in 85 years from now. Why? It is partly related to the theme of our anniversary party in March which is ‘Open up.’ 

From assignment to relationship

When I started at EP&C 33 years ago, I thought it was quite normal to mainly work on one-off assignments. Clients would approach us and ask us to arrange the appropriate patent protection whenever they had invented something and were developing it further. Once we had finished doing that we would generally only speak to each other again whenever there was some kind of new development. There's nothing wrong with that, is there? Not in itself, but all of this could take place in a much nicer and more effective way. And that's exactly what happened.

Over the last three decades I have seen EP&C develop into a one of a kind in its field. We don't go from assignment to assignment but have an ongoing relationship with our clients. We really work together as a team. Whereas I used to talk to clients only after they had come up with an idea and worked it out in more detail they now call me and say: "Hendrik Jan, I'm thinking of developing something. What do you think?" Relationships like this are quite unique in our industry and we have them with lots of our clients. It is only possible to achieve this if you open with each other. In other words: ‘Open up’

Trust is the key

Just like in any other relationship, they only work when they are based on trust. Without trust you cannot really be open about your questions and doubts about your invention, market opportunities, the possibility of a conflict with third-party rights, and other things that have to be kept secret for the time being. Openness and trust are also essential because we are working with a horizon in the distant future. A patent has to remain valid and preferably stay relevant for around twenty years. You don't get that in any other profession. Ask any random kitchen retailer to supply you with a kitchen with a dishwasher or cabinets that will last twenty years but also meet the latest requirements. Everyone will say that you're nuts. 

Yet that's what we do: enthusiastically apply our knowledge and experience over and over again to help our clients succeed, both now and in the long term. This can only work if both sides invest in a long-term partnership. Not a chain of individual assignments, but a long-term vision.

Never boring

The patent profession is never boring. It allows you to share your thoughts on innovations and join in the celebrations when they are successful but sometimes you’ll have to accept that they’re going to fail. Above all the patent profession is about honesty. If something is not possible, or seems unwise to us, we say so. If a patent application really doesn't make sense, we will tell the client. And we would prefer our clients to tell us about their plans, what the motivation is behind the developments, where they expect problems to arise and so on. We perform best on such a basis of mutual openness. We have been able to do so for the past 85 years and I am confident that we will be able to continue to do so for another 85 years.