Blog

New peak of patent filings at the EPO in 2014

16 January 2015 - No comments »

EPO President Benoît BattistelliThis week we published our preliminary filing figures for 2014. Although the precise numbers are still being worked on, indications are that we saw over 270 00 filings last year, an increase of approximately 3%. This is in line with the trend observed over the last four years with annual increases between 2% and 4%. Of course, there are big differences when looking more closely at the geographical origin of those filings. Those from Europe remained stable in comparison with last year. The situation with filings from Asia, however, shows significant swings: China up 16% to 17% , South Korea up 1% to 2%, but filings from Japan down 3% to 4%. Filings from the US rose by  6% to 7%, confirming American companies in their ranking as the top filers at the EPO (25% of the total in 2013). The definitive figures, with much more detail, trends and company rankings, will be released on 26 February 2015.

Because the EPO is mainly an office of second filing, the evolution in what we receive follows the trends observed at national level some months before. Hence the surge of patent applications in the US at the beginning of 2014, probably in relation to the entry into force of some important provisions of the America Invents Act as explained by many commentators, had a knock-on effect on our filings from the US as well. It is also not surprising to witness the steady growth from China, considering the expansion of their economy, and SIPO has announced that they expect to reach 2 million patent applications in 2020. The PCT continues to be more and more the favoured channel for many users filing at the EPO. Our recent measures to further improve our PCT services (top-up searches, PCT-Direct, freezing of fees) add to the attractiveness of this route.

There is further impetus for all patent offices in the world, but in particular for the IP5 offices as they represent 85% of global patent activity, to be very rigorous in their examination process. I am convinced that high quality patents are the best driver to improve the global patent system. The EPO has obtained ISO 9001 certification for its whole granting process, but we will not be complacent. Continuous improvement is the only way to maintain our quality standards. Patent offices must be more efficient as their resources come from their users. The EPO is wholly self-financed, and in providing the best return on our users’ fees we had record production in 2014 with 320 000 searches, examinations or oppositions handled. This achievement shows that the implementation of our quality efficiency strategy is generating positive results. With the implementation inter-alia of our new career and promotion scheme, we expect more positive results in 2015.

In 2015, other key projects with major benefits for users are expected to be finalised. I would like to mention in particular the Unitary Patent as the plan is to agree on the scale of fees and all other outstanding issues in June at the latest. I also hope that in parallel the ratification process for the Unified Patent Court Treaty will progress sufficiently so that the first Unitary Patent could be delivered in the course of 2016. Momentous times are ahead.

Benoît Battistelli

President

  • Share this post:

Older posts

2014, another successful year for the EPO


As the year draws to a close, it is time to look back on the achievements of the last twelve months. First, 2014 can be regarded as a very successful year for the EPO, as in many areas we reached our best ever performances. In terms of filings, we expect a 3% – 3.5% increase […]

ISO certification for the EPO’s patent granting process


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 […]

Celebrating 20 years of OHIM


Anniversaries are a good opportunity to reflect on the past, to review achievements and to imagine future improvements. In this regard, I think it is fair to say that the celebrations at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, in Alicante last week, illustrated their impressive results in only two decades. OHIM’s geographical coverage […]

Europe and China in strategic partnership for patents


It comes as a surprise to some that the relationship between the EPO and the Patent Office of China (SIPO) started decades ago. Ever since Deng Xiaoping began to open up China and its economy at the end of the 1970s, numerous initiatives have been taken by the Chinese authorities. One of them was to […]

Adapting patent information to the global needs


Last week in Warsaw the EPO organised its popular Patent Information Conference (EPOPIC). It is always a pleasure for me to attend this unique annual gathering of patent information specialists from Europe and around the world: more than 400 attendees from a total of 48 countries participated in this 24th session. I particularly enjoyed the […]

Fresh insight on our relations with the U.S.


Having regular contacts with our users, in and outside Europe, is of utmost importance to ensure that our services still meet their needs and also to receive feedback on the evolution of our services. This is why I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to meet three major American associations last month in Washington […]

Key milestone in Stockholm for our new IT tools


The EPO’s Online User Day held last week in Stockholm, attended by more than 200 participants from 20 European countries, marked the start of the roll out of our new patent grant process. As you know, the EPO’s IT Roadmap has identified ways to radically reengineer our business processes to improve efficiency and quality. This programme has […]

Extending PPH opportunities for European application holders


Taking into account the diverse needs of applicants regarding their way through the patent examination process, the EPO has always been responsive and has adapted its procedures while maintaining the high quality of the delivered products. It is true that depending on the cycle of development of a new technology, applicants may have more or […]

45th AIPPI World Intellectual Property Congress in Toronto


The World Intellectual Property Congress of the AIPPI is a unique opportunity to meet IP professionals, users from industry and private practice from all over the world. Nearly 1,500 participants attended the last session in Toronto (Canada) where I had the pleasure to present the most recent developments at the EPO, focusing on our new […]