10 December 2014 - No comments »
This week, on behalf of the EPO, I was very pleased to receive the ISO 9001 certificate for our entire patent granting process covering: search and examination; opposition; limitation and revocation. The EPO is the first among the big patent offices to have achieved this internationally recognised standard for its quality management system.
Quality is at the core of everything we do. The EPO enjoys the reputation of delivering the highest patent quality worldwide. Quality, together with efficiency, is the foundation upon which I have built my strategy to ensure the long term prosperity and attractiveness of the EPO. This certification does not mark the end of our efforts towards quality. On the contrary, it is merely a milestone which the EPO is pleased to have achieved. However, it confirms that we are committed to a path of continual improvement both today and tomorrow. As part of our strategy, we will consider similar new quality procedures for other areas close to the patent granting process, such as for patent information.
In an interconnected world, where actions have consequences on others, internal quality objectives are often influenced by the quality of external inputs. “Quality in equals quality out” or so the saying goes. Quality of the data at source, quality of the communications between stakeholders, and quality of the delivered information are all fundamental to improving the global patent system. The EPO is therefore very engaged with its partners, like the national patent offices of the European Patent Network and the IP5, to develop a quality policy with shared responsibilities. For example the quality of our essential currency – data – will be an area where the EPO will invest even more resources in the short term. In the PCT area we are in discussions with other authorities for international searches and examinations in order to develop a framework which could foster the quality of our outputs. EPO experts are also holding regular “Quality meetings” with user associations from different regions to ensure that our projects and services meet their expectations.
This ISO certification encourages us to reinforce our efforts to continually improve the quality of our services and this is exactly what we are intending to achieve, notably with our comprehensive Quality Roadmap. You can learn more about our quality measures on this new area of our website.