09.05.21

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EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XIV – Business as Usual in Tallinn

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Series index:

  1. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part I – More Captured Delegates?
  2. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part II – Old Wine in New Bottles…
  3. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part III – Introducing the Finnish “Facilitator”
  4. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IV – Martti Enäjärvi and His “Good Brother” Networks
  5. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part V – A Man With a Conviction…
  6. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VI – “A Good Friend of Estonia and a Steady Cooperation Partner”
  7. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VII – A Self-Appointed “Select Committee”
  8. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part VIII – Pulling for the Portuguese Pretender?
  9. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part IX – António’s Faithful Acolyte in Alicante
  10. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part X – A Pan-European “Good Brother” Network Celebration?
  11. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XI – With a Little Help From My Friends…
  12. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XII – Battistelli and His Baltic Fiefdoms
  13. EPO Exposé: The Besieged Baltic States – Part XIII – Out With the Old, in With the New?
  14. You are here ☞ Business as Usual in Tallinn

Matti Päts
Matti Päts retired at the end of March 2015.

Summary: How Margus Viher became chief of the Estonian Patent Office in the wake of Matti Päts retiring at age of about 82; his track record so far is relatively OK

Matti Päts, the long-time Director-General of the Estonian Patent Office, ruled the roost in Tallinn for twenty three years from March 1992 until March 2015.

“As often happens in the case of national patent offices, Päts was succeeded by his deputy Margus Viher.”In terms of job longevity he came close to matching the record set by his Finnish counterpart Martti Enäjärvi who was in charge of the Finnish PRH from 1986 to 2010.

When he was finally put out to pasture at the end of March 2015, Päts was pushing 82.

As often happens in the case of national patent offices, Päts was succeeded by his deputy Margus Viher.

Margus Viher and Matti Päts
Margus Viher (left) took over from Matti Päts in March 2015.

Viher is an alumnus of the School of Digital Technologies at Tallinn University and “a graduate in the field of information science” where he finished his studies in 1996.

In August 2020 he was nominated as an outstanding alumnus of the School of Digital Technologies.

Margus-Viher-Tallinn-University
In August 2020 Viher was nominated as an outstanding alumnus of the Tallinn University School of Digital Technologies.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Viher joined the Estonian Patent Office in January 2000 and was initially responsible for its “Information Department”. He was appointed Deputy Director-General in May 2005 and finally took over the top job from Päts on 1 April 2015.

Margus-Viher-org-chart
Viher was initially responsible for the “Information Department” of the Estonian Patent Office and was appointed Deputy Director-General in May 2005.

Viher’s tenure at the head of the Estonian Patent Office so far is best described as “uneventful”.

The only visible change between 2015 and 2016 was the facts that the formerly clean-shaven Viher started sporting a beard.

Margus-Viher-beard
Margus Viher: clean-shaven in 2015, bearded in 2016.

Towards the end of 2019, he set up an official blog site associated with the Estonian Patent Office. The blog was intended to be “a place where we introduce what is happening in the world of intellectual property and keep the reader informed about it”.

“There isn’t a lot that can be said about Viher’s tenure in charge of the Estonian Patent Office, apart from the fact that he has managed to keep the show on the road without any noticeable disruption.”At least it seems a bit more democratically managed than the blog operated by the autocrats in charge of the EPO. According to Viher, the blog is intended to share “the thoughts and opinions of many of my colleagues here” and most of the postings are from office employees rather than self-promoting screeds to boost his own ego.

There isn’t a lot that can be said about Viher’s tenure in charge of the Estonian Patent Office, apart from the fact that he has managed to keep the show on the road without any noticeable disruption.

In 2016 he was responsible for signing a bilateral cooperation agreement with Benoît Battistelli according to which the EPO undertook “to assist the Estonian Patent Office with information technology and training, and finance the publication of industrial property related materials”.

Margus-Viher-Battistelli-EPO
Viher signing a bilateral cooperation agreement with Battistelli in 2016.

On the EPO’s Administrative Council, Viher has basically continued the tradition of his predecessor to defer to the line “proposed” (i.e. dictated) by the Office management and he is not noted for asking any awkward questions.

He seems like a fairly down-to-earth guy and he is probably reasonable enough to deal with on a personal level.

“Viher’s political masters in Estonia seem to be happy enough with leaving him in charge of the national patent office.”But, in relation to EPO affairs, he gives the impression of being out of his depth when faced with the political machinations of seasoned operators like Battistelli and António Campinos.

Viher’s political masters in Estonia seem to be happy enough with leaving him in charge of the national patent office.

In March 2020 it was announced that he had been reappointed for another five-year term on the basis of a competitive selection procedure.

In the next part, we will turn our attention to the Lithuanian Patent Office, where we shall see that the transition from the old to new guard didn’t go quite as smoothly.

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