28 October 2013 - No comments »
Last week, I attended the EPO Patent Information Conference, hosted this year by the city of Bologna, which, as an industrial, academic and cultural centre that has nurtured so many innovative minds, was the perfect location for a headline conference dealing with the dissemination of technical knowledge. This year’s event drew some 400 patent information specialists to a wide range of presentations and discussions, flanked by exhibitions of products and services in this rapidly expanding field.
My exchanges with representatives of user associations – in particular, the Patent Documentation Group and the Patent Information Users’ Group – were interesting and rewarding, and confirmed my perception of the need for high-quality, reliable data. In 2012, the EPO received almost 260 000 new patent filings, and the world filings total reached two million. This places a huge burden not only on the patent examination process, but also on the dissemination of patent information. The resulting data has to be collected, checked, processed and made available in a form that meets the highest quality standards. This is why I was particularly pleased at the success of the EPO and its IP5 partners in agreeing on a patent information policy at our meeting in Cupertino, California, last June.
The EPO will continue to pursue three main goals: to build the best and most comprehensive patent databases; to lower the cost and language barriers on access to patent information; and to raise public awareness, in various spheres, of the importance of patent information, maximising the impact of these activities through studies and analyses that will feed into the public debates. In this area, 2013 has been, so far, a very productive year for the EPO, with the launch of the CPC in January, the extension of the CCD to the IP5 in March, the publication of our joint economic study with OHIM in September, and the further expansion of our Patent Translate service, which now, since the inclusion of Russian at the beginning of October, offers a total of 22 languages.
The further development of an efficient and reliable patent information system requires the participation of many actors, especially among user groups and patent offices. The EPO will continue to play a leading role in these efforts: for us, patent information remains a top priority. The next EPO Patent Information Conference will take place in autumn next year in Warsaw – I look forward to seeing you there.