At the EPO, we take great pride in administering high quality patents through the provision of equally high quality services. In short, quality is an essential pillar on which the EPO has built its reputation and for which we are renowned. For many years we have been guided by a roadmap and robust policy in this field and it has been a lynchpin of our work.
But with modern challenges, such as rising numbers of patent applications and increasing complexity of inventions, patent offices the world over are faced with the same taxing question: how do you reconcile the need to maintain quality while administering more and more patents in the face of increasing global demand?
Over the last two weeks, recent results have shown that the EPO is successfully addressing that challenge. Last week I chaired the Office’s annual quality review, in order to take stock of the last year. The results were extremely encouraging and I am pleased to report that 2015 has proven to be a record year for quality and productivity. Not only have we exceeded our ambitious production targets but we have also simultaneously achieved outstanding quality results in Patent Administration and exceeded initial expectations.
In addition to these great results, the EPO formally received ISO 9001 certification for post grant activities and patent information. The extended certification now means that post grant activities such as publication, register and post grant fee handling are certified to the same rigorous ISO 9001 standards as the search, examination, and opposition stages of the patent granting process, for which we gained certification last year.
We have no intention to rest on our laurels. Although an external survey has also confirmed the quality of our products and services, our commitment in this area foresees a constant improvement. We have therefore set ambitious quality objectives for 2016 and, given the extension of ISO 9001, we have also included objectives for Patent information for the first time. The targets are ambitious but achievable. The EPO’s staff and management have demonstrated absolute commitment in the pursuit of quality and I am therefore confident that next year’s targets will also be superseded.
The annual quality results, the external survey and the extended ISO 9001 certification send a very clear message to all those who have put faith in our services: while we have managed to increase our efficiency and productivity, we have also remained uncompromising in our commitment to quality. It remains as important as ever for us and for our innovators who rely on these robust patents. We shall never forget that this Office was built upon high quality products and services. It is part of our working culture, it is who we are, and it is something of which we are extremely proud.
With COP 21 underway in Paris, negotiators from over 190 countries are seeking to bolster global efforts to mitigate climate change. Scientists have been clear that unless emissions are reduced, there could be catastrophic consequences for the earth’s environment and population. While many courses of action are being discussed, it is the increasing use of […]
As those of you following developments at the EPO will be aware, 2015 is a very special year for our Office and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). It is the thirtieth anniversary of bilateral cooperation between our organisations. In Europe, we marked this occasion with a successful special […]
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 […]
At the EPO, we are committed to the ongoing improvement of our services. Together with increasing efficiency and production, we are continuously looking for new ways in which to save applicants both time and money in the patent granting process. Last year, in November 2014, the EPO launched an optional procedure that would significantly shorten […]
This is a special year for the EPO and SIPO. 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of bilateral cooperation between our offices. The productive relationship that now exists between the patent-granting authorities of Europe and China is the result of the long term vision that was initiated by our offices’ predecessors over three decades ago. On […]
Last week I was in Geneva for the Fifty-Fifth Series of Meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Assemblies. It has been a hugely productive few days. A packed agenda of meetings bore testament to the truly international nature of the patent system. From the very outset and initial intellectual property agreements, the patent […]
Today we have taken a significant step in improving our Office’s transparency with the publishing of our Service Regulations. These are the rules that govern the conditions of employment for all EPO staff and which ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of our office by providing staff with a framework of rules that clearly define […]
A few days ago I was in Rome to meet with Simona Vicari, Italy’s Under Secretary of State to the Ministry of Economic Development. I was there to discuss the unitary patent following the Italian government’s decision in July to request officially participation in the scheme. The country’s accession is in the process of being […]
At the European Patent Office we have seen the demand for patents increase consistently over the last five years. The number of annual direct European patent filings has increased by almost 30,000 since 2010 and in 2014 we received a total of 274,174. Now, more than ever, we face the need to reconcile increasing demand […]