25 November 2015 - No comments »
Recently, I was in Copenhagen to speak at the EPO’s Patent Information Conference (EPOPIC 2015). It was the 25th event of its kind and attendance was impressive, bringing together over 400 participants from approximately 45 countries. EPOPIC is the largest patent information conference in Europe and feedback from delegates every year reveals an appreciation for its comprehensive and engaging programme. Three days of speeches, presentations, panels and discussions explored a wide variety of topics, such as the challenge of increasing data quantities, the future roles of patent tools and how to meet the needs of industry. It was also an opportunity for myself and all those attending to learn more about the state-of-the-art patent information services provided by the thirty-five exhibitors present.
For some time, patent information has gone beyond its role as a source of technical information. Instead, the extensive data that the EPO offers is able to provide vital insight to a range of users and can prove exceptionally valuable. For policy-makers, IP data can reveal how our patent systems are performing and whether our IP systems are successfully addressing the needs of innovators, business, and the wider goals of our society.
For business and industry, reliable IP data and statistics help to understand the latest trends in business and technology. With the EPO offering more complete information than ever before, we can analyse specific indicators such as patent family size, the length of time the patent is in force and citation and procedural information. Those factors can help businesses to assess the maturity of technologies and trends in innovation and can then be used to define business strategies. In essence, good IP information can drive innovation and the economy.
The EPO has for many years been committed to high-quality patent information that is complete, user friendly, accurate and available in a timely manner. This is the result of extensive work with our partners to ensure that we are able to offer over 90 million patent documents from over 90 patent issuing authorities. Our work with IP5 and other offices in areas such as Cooperative Patent Classification and Global Dossier means that we have more data available for users to access.
EPO databases such as Espacenet and tools such as Patent Translate ensure that users the world over are able to benefit from the extensive patent data we hold. We continue to invest in those tools. Recently we launched Espacenet mobile to ensure that users can find information on patents while on the go. We have also launched PATSTAT online, a new online tool for accessing the EPO’s worldwide Patent Statistical Database. Specifically designed for statistical analysis, the service offers the possibility for greater visualisation of statistical results and only needs a web browser to provide access.
With these tools, we are providing accurate patent information to anyone who wishes to benefit from the information we hold. Everyone is invited to exploit this valuable resource. In the past, I have remarked that increasing volumes of patent applications represent a challenge for the international patent system. However, by using EPO databases and tools to harness the associated patent data, we can use this as an opportunity to make sound business and policy decisions.