Filing figures and trends

Last week in Brussels, I was particularly pleased to see the strong attendance of journalists and press agencies at the presentation of our annual results for 2013, despite the heavy international agenda on the day. This is surely a sign of growing interest in innovation and patents, which are increasingly in the public eye. The […]

Early Certainty from Search

Last year, filings at the EPO reached a new peak, with over 265 000 applications. Coping with this workload – while maintaining high quality standards – necessitates action to address a wide range of parameters, including human resources, IT tools, the legal framework of the patent process and the EPO’s internal procedures. With the “Raising […]

IP valuation: a building block for success

Over the past decade, the valuation and monetisation of intellectual property have become ever more important. In the past, the approach to these matters was mainly defensive, when liquidity problems led companies to look for things they could readily sell, including immaterial assets. Latterly, however, the management of patent portfolios has become increasingly dynamic, with […]

2013 at the EPO: sustaining growth and progress

The EPO filing figures for 2013 were published last week. Although they remain preliminary – largely because of the 2013 PCT applications which have yet to reach us -, the main trends are clearly apparent. First, for the fourth year in a row, the filings total increased (+2.8%), reaching yet another peak (265 000). However, […]

Raising IP awareness among EU policy-makers

Last week, in Brussels, the EPO and OHIM held a joint seminar on the essentials of IP for EU officials. I was delighted to see that this event attracted some 130 participants, from the EU institutions, national governments and IP offices, indicating the strong awareness within the European policy-making community of the crucial role of […]

Tribute to our brilliant inventors

The European Inventor Award (EIA) ceremony held in Amsterdam on 28 May was a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to some of our most creative and inspiring inventors. Many representatives of the worlds of politics, industry, academia and industrial property took part in this event, including Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Michel […]

Pushing for quality: messages from the EPO’s economic and scientific advisers

This week, the EPO’s Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB) published the results of its activities in 2012, investigating three topics of its own choosing: fee policy, quality and patent thickets. The valuable reports on these sensitive issues are accompanied by recommendations for improving the patent system. The ESAB is an independent body, and its […]

European patent filings hit another high in 2012

Today saw the publication of the preliminary figures for European patent filings in 2012, which show an increase for the third year in a row. The total of almost 258 000 was nearly 5.7% above the figure for 2011. Three main regions account for almost 95% of the filings: 37% came from EPO member states; […]

Biotechnology and patents

Although biotechnology is important for the economy and society, patenting in this field sometimes faces opposition from the public, especially NGOs. The few cases concerned tend to attract a lot of attention, as did three patents recently granted by the EPO. They cover different kinds of processes for re-engineering genes to be used in medical […]

US, Japanese and European patent offices take stock of 30 years of cooperation

In Kyoto last week, the Trilateral Offices (JPO, USPTO and EPO) celebrated the 30th anniversary of their cooperation. This was an occasion to review some of the projects completed since the Trilateral’s inception. The EPO and the USPTO also took the opportunity to update on the Cooperative Patent Classification, which will enter into force on […]