The global patent system is a dynamically-evolving one. The emergence of new technologies, a rising demand for patent protection, and the ever-growing amount of documentation (especially in Asia) that needs to be taken into account pose a major challenge to all of the world's patent offices. At the EPO we have taken a positive attitude to these challenges and have launched a broad review of our strategy.
In 2010 we commissioned two external reviews ─ of our IT systems and our finances. In 2011 we developed responses to their findings. We set out a new strategic framework, which was adopted by our member states in March. It aims at boosting efficiency and controlling costs while maintaining and enhancing the quality of our products and services.
The new strategy focuses on five key areas: IT, human resources, buildings, quality and co‑operation. For each of these priorities, a detailed "roadmap" was drawn up, outlining concrete projects and activities for the next four to five years.
This is expected to bring about major changes in the way we work. It will mean putting our IT systems on a new platform, boosting quality assurance, improving working conditions for staff originating from more than 30 European countries, intensifying our co-operation with Europe's national patent offices and with our partners in the IP field. All of this will lay the ground for us to continue to play a leading role in supporting competitiveness and economic growth into the future and in shaping the global patent system.