João Negrão takes the helm as the new EUIPO executive director

Portuguese national and former EUIPO Boards of Appeal president began his new role on 1 October

João Negrão begins his mandate as executive director of the EUIPO

João Negrão takes up his position this week as new executive director of the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) after being elected to the post in July by the Council of the EU for a term of five years.

He replaces Belgian national Christian Archambeau, who held the role since 2018. Negrão takes the reins of the Alicante-based IP office against the backdrop of a dip in the number of trademark applications filed in 2022, with the subsequent impact on cost and expenditure.

He was one of three candidates in the running to become executive director of the EUIPO; one of the other two was the International Trademark Association’s Etienne Sanz de Acedo

Negrão prevailed, however, and 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 Portugal’s national IP office, following several different positions in the national public administration.

Commenting on his appointment, 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.”

Under his new leadership, the EU agency will take over some new areas such as craft and industrial geographical indications (GIs). GIs establish IP rights’ protection for specific products, whose qualities are linked to the area of production.

On 12 September, the European Parliament approved new EU rules aimed at extending protection beyond food to locally renowned non-food products such as lace, glass, natural stones, jewellery or porcelain across the EU and globally.

The legislation foresees a regular two-step registration, starting at national level and followed by an examination of the application by the EUIPO at EU level.

The office will also continue its collaboration with the European Commission on agricultural GIs and its support to small and medium size enterprises via the SME Fund.

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