The European Patent Office

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1 The An introduction to the EPO and the European patent system Siobhán Yeats Director, JC Biotechnology 6 July 2015

2 Our mission As the patent office for Europe, we support innovation, competitiveness and economic growth across Europe through a commitment to high quality and efficient services delivered under the European Patent Convention. 2

3 Our history October 1973 Diplomatic Conference in Munich Signature of the European Patent Convention (EPC) by 16 countries Entry into force of the EPC in 7 countries Foundation of the European Patent Organisation Foundation of the Celebration of 40 years of the EPC More on 3

4 Today European member states Belgium Germany France Luxembourg Netherlands Switzerland United Kingdom Sweden Italy Austria Liechtenstein Greece Spain Denmark Monaco Portugal Ireland Finland Cyprus Turkey Bulgaria Czech Republic Estonia Slovakia Slovenia Hungary Romania Poland Iceland Lithuania Latvia Malta Croatia Norway Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia San Marino Albania Serbia 2 European extension states Bosnia-Herzegovina Montenegro 1 Validation state Morocco 4

5 Our status Second-largest intergovernmental institution in Europe Not an EU institution Self-financing, i.e. revenue from fees covers operating and capital expenditure Five locations and 6,892 staff (2014), of whom 60% are examiners 5

6 Structure of the European Patent Organisation European Patent Organisation Administrative Council The legislative body is made up of delegates from the member states supervises the activities of the Office appoints the President votes on the Office's budget The executive body is responsible for searching, examining and publishing patent applications is responsible for holding opposition proceedings is responsible for appeal proceedings before the boards of appeal 6

7 Structure of the President Presidential area Benoît Battistelli DG 0 Directorates-General Operations DG 1 Operational Support DG 2 Administration DG 4 Legal/International Affairs DG 5 Appeals DG 3 Guillaume Minnoye Alberto Casado Cerviño Željko Topić Raimund Lutz Wim van der Eijk Search Substantive Examination Opposition Business Services Patent Administration Quality Management Information Management Human Resources General Administration Central Procurement European and International Co-operation Patent Law and Multilateral Affairs Legal Services Patent Information and European Patent Academy 7

8 A multicultural working environment Over 30 different nationalities Three languages for working in and for communicating with applicants: English French German 8

9 Three ways to start the European procedure European route European route Applicant files a direct European application = 1st filing National route National route Applicant files a national application Applicant files a European application = 2nd filing 1) European search and examination procedure International route International route Applicant files a PCT application Application enters European phase 1) By claiming priority of an earlier application filed with a national office within 12 months. 9

10 The role of the EPO in the European grant procedure We provide patent protection in up to 40 European countries and Morocco (validation state) based on a single application in one of the three official languages (English, French, German) We are also responsible for limitation and revocation proceedings by patentees opposition proceedings by third parties appeal proceedings before the boards of appeal The EPO makes all patent documents available to the public 10

11 The EPO also processes international (PCT) applications We act as a receiving office for international applications (PCT) We carry out approximately: 40% of all international search procedures 48% of all international preliminary examinations The EPO delivers the international search report within 3 months* * From the date of receipt of the application by the International Searching Authority. 11

12 Basic steps in the European grant procedure Filing Search Examination Grant Opposition Appeal Publication (18 months) of the application and search report Publication of the patent specification 12

13 Key components of the EPO's patent quality policy Highly skilled examiners extensive training and continuous professional development State-of-the-art searches Thorough procedures and review processes Quality controls and an ongoing commitment to improvement 13

14 State-of-the-art searches World's largest collection of documents over 800 million records of patent and non-patent literature documents in over 120 databases more than journals databases updated daily High-performance EPOQUE search tool used by examiners a worldwide benchmark used by over 40 patent offices, including Australia, Brazil and China Machine translation to extend the range of easily accessible information 14

15 Quality controls and commitment to improvement Guidelines and instructions for examiners Spot-checks on search reports and examination quality Internal quality audits ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System 15

16 All patent documents are accessible free of charge on Espacenet over 90 million patent documents, easily searchable, around 20 million visits per year Patent Translate Automatic translation between English and 31 other languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. 16

17 Training organised by the European Patent Academy Training on IP and our services and tools for applicants and attorneys judges patent office staff universities and research centres businesses and SMEs An extensive collection of free e-learning materials on 17

18 Raising awareness European Inventor Award Honours outstanding inventors Five categories and an international jury of experts Popular prize awarded for the first time in 2013 Target audience: decision-makers in business, politics, science and the media In a different location in Europe every year A major media campaign with worldwide impact 18

19 Total European patent filings 1) 1) Direct European filings under the EPC and international filings under the PCT. 19

20 Origin of European patent filings (2014) 1) DE: Germany I FR: France I CH: Switzerland I NL: Netherlands I GB: United Kingdom US: United States I JP: Japan I CN: P.R. China I KR: R. Korea I EPO: European Patent Organisation Shares in Direct European filings under the European Patent Convention (EPC) and international filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). 20

21 Technical fields 1) with the most applications (2014) 2) 1) Classified according to the IPC and technology concordance table as revised in January ) Based on European patent applications filed with the EPO. 21

22 Top applicants seeking patent protection from the EPO in ) 1) Based on European patent applications filed with the EPO. 22

23 Granted patents (2014) 1) EPO Member states 51% DE: Germany I FR: France I CH: Switzerland I NL: Netherlands I GB: United Kongdom US: United States I JP: Japan I CN: P.R. China I KR: South Korea I EPO: European Patent Organisation 1) Analysis based on granted patents in Patents have been allocated to the country of residence of the first-named patentee. 23

24 Need more information? Visit Contact us at Follow us on europeanpatentoffice twitter.com/epoorg european-patent-office 24

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