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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
After the summer break, I am particularly glad to start with a blog reporting on the celebrations for the 95th anniversary of Czech Industrial Property Office which took place last week in Prague in the presence of many personalities, including the Vice-Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry and Trade, the Heads of WIPO, OHIM and […]
When I started my term as EPO President on 1 July 2010, I found a situation of stark contrasts. The Office had evolved successfully over the previous decades as a recognised technical institution, yet in some strategic areas it was facing a crisis of maturity. While some IT tools and services, such as EPOQUE and […]