patents

Russian now on board for machine translation


On Wednesday, 16 May I was in Moscow to sign an agreement with the Russian patent office – Rospatent – about Patent Translate, our MT service. Over the coming months, our two offices will work together to build up the English-Russian corpora. This new MT agreement testifies once more to the excellent relationship the EPO […]

ESAB – its first two workshops focus on patent quality and fee policy


Last week, the EPO’s Economic and Scientific Advisory Board (ESAB), which was set up in January, held its two first workshops in Munich. They brought together some 40 participants from a variety of professional backgrounds (industry, patent attorneys, academics and economists) for frank and lively discussions about two particularly contentious issues – patent quality and […]

Further improvements to the EPO’s IT services


Last week in London I met Andy Green, CEO of Logica, to launch a major strategic project – a significant modernisation of our patent-related processes that will set new service levels for the European patent system in the future. To achieve this, we will build an innovative case management system that will support all EPO […]

Access to Asian prior art


Following on from the first agreement on our machine translation programme, reached in November 2011 with the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO), this week in Tokyo I was very pleased to be able to sign a similar agreement with another major Asian office, the Japan Patent Office (JPO). Japan and Japanese users have always played an […]

Another peak year for European patent filings


On Tuesday, we published our preliminary figures for patent filings received in 2011. They reached a new peak of 243 000, up 3% on the 2010 figure (235 000), which was itself a record but boosted in part by the one-off surge in divisional applications. One might have expected the financial and economic crisis in […]

2011 – a good year for the EPO


As the year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to review our main achievements. The EPO did well in 2011, despite Europe’s economic difficulties. We now reckon with almost 250 000 filings, beating last year’s record of 235 000 – which however was due partly to a one-off surge in […]

China and Europe, SIPO and the EPO – two strategic partners in the patent field


The latest yearly bilateral meeting between the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) and the EPO, held in Chongqing (South West China) last week, was further testimony to the long and fruitful relationship our two offices have now enjoyed for many years. Since 1985, when our bilateral co-operation first started, SIPO has developed legal principles and procedures […]

Commissioner Barnier in Munich


Last week, I was delighted to welcome to the EPO an EU delegation led by Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, and including two Members of the European Parliament, Cecilia Wikström (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) and Eva Lichtenberger (Green Party). The main purpose of this first official visit […]

Patent activities over the summer break


The summer break is traditionally a quiet period for industry and for patents as well, with August usually the month which produces the lowest number of patent filings. However, this summer has seen an unusually high incidence of patent-related activities, including the selling of a mega-portfolio of patents and the launch of major international legal […]

Patents and standards can work together


At first sight, patents and standards may seem contradictory. Certainly, when defining a standard to be used by all the players in a particular market, it is indeed vital to know what is patented and what is not. However, sometimes different companies file large numbers of patents around the same technology. This may call for […]