The EPO

ISO certification for the EPO’s patent granting process


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 […]

An extended mandate – confirming the way forward


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 […]

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, […]

Boosting inter-activity with the users


Since my arrival at the EPO in 2010, I have put strong emphasis on making the Office more user-friendly. This is happening in several ways: for example, in providing new IT tools that help applicants to follow the processing of their patents. The feedback we have received so far has been very positive. We are […]

US feedback on recent developments in the European patent system


Last week, in the margins of the IP5 meeting, I had the opportunity to meet a number of senior IP executives from companies based in California. I always welcome this kind of direct contact with the EPO’s users, giving us a chance to inform them about our current projects and activities and to hear their […]

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 […]

Women’s Day


Today, 8 March, is International Women’s Day. This is an occasion to reflect on the EPO’s attitude to the position of women and on what it does as an employer to address their concerns. For some years, one of the major innovation challenges for Europe has been to encourage young people to study science and […]

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; […]

The European Patent Academy


Last week, in Munich, I had the opportunity to meet members of the Supervisory Board of the Academy of the European Patent Organisation. My discussions with the Board members reminded me just how important the work of our Academy is. Nowadays, with the information society extending into every aspect of our lives, IP is headline […]