2004 in review

36 countriesEuropean patents are now valid in 36 countries. more ...
 
On 1 July, Alain Pompidou took over at the helm of the European Patent Office. Mr Pompidou, the Office’s fourth President, succeeded Ingo Kober on his retirement after eight and a half years in office.
 
DG Appeals, headed by Vice-President Peter Messerli, registered a marked rise in new cases in 2004.
 
In the year under review the Office took the first steps towards rebuilding its premises in The Hague. more ...

Intense political debate over the patenting of computer-implemented inventions continued unabated in 2004. more ...

The demand for patent protection in Europe rose sharply in 2004. 178 600 European patent applications were filed, the highest total in the history of the Office. more ... 
 
The Organisation’s Administrative Council appointed Thomas Hammer as the new Vice-President of Directorate-General Operations. Pantelis Kyriakides is the Vice-President DG Operational Support.
 
The Office has set new standards in its documentation, which now comprises 56 million items. The scope and content of its search documentation are key factors in the quality of European patents.
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The drive to ensure quality and enhance efficiency in the grant procedure was a determining influence on the EPO’s internal restructuring projects.
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In future, the EPO’s education and training programme for patent experts from around the world will be run by the newly created European Patent Academy.
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Last year China and the EPO again extended their bilateral co-operation programme.
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After a successful pilot phase with 90% approval by the users, the extended European search report is scheduled to become standard in the Office in July 2005.
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More and more European patent applications are being filed online.
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At the EPO Public Hearings 2004, such as this one in Prague, a clear majority of patent system users strongly supported the centralised European grant procedure.
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