The EPO

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 […]

Patent information, a top priority for the EPO


With 450 participants from 42 countries, the 2012 EPO Patent Information Conference in Hamburg was a record-breaking success. The conference, held in Hamburg from 6 to 8 November, was the 22nd event of its kind, offering, like its predecessors, a unique opportunity to meet patent information experts, service providers and industry representatives from all over […]

The Nobel Peace Prize for the EU


The decision to bestow the Nobel Prize on the EU was certainly unexpected. But the honour is fully deserved. The award powerfully underlines the essential message of European unity, aside from the usual stories of economic woes, bureaucracy, regulatory nitpicking and incomprehensible decision-making processes. After centuries of conflict, after two world wars and the worst […]

The EPO on the global stage


The WIPO General Assembly provides a unique opportunity to meet colleagues from IP offices across the globe. Each day is like a world tour, as more and more countries, large and small, near and far, seek to explore the possibilities of cooperation with the EPO. Here are some of the highlights from last week’s bilateral […]