Patents

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 […]

Patent Translate doubles its offering


Last Thursday, the EPO released the second batch of languages automatically translated from and into English via the Patent Translate service on our Espacenet website. The new languages are: Danish, Dutch, Greek, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian and Polish. This means that half of the 28 European languages included in the programme are now available, with full […]

Listening to our users


In recent weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet two important delegations of users, one from Japan – with JETRO acting as a co-organiser – and the other from the American Bar Association. US and Japanese users account for a large proportion of filings at the EPO (44% of the total in 2011), so […]

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 […]