Scenarios for the future

As part of a three-year project, the EPO interviewed over 100 key players in the fields of science, business, politics, ethics, economics and law, seeking their opinions on the key factors and challenges likely to have an impact on patenting and IP in the future. The result: four challenging, relevant and plausible scenarios describing four possible future worlds.

Market Rules


The story of consolidation in the face of a system that has been so successful that it is collapsing under its own weight

Whose game?


The story of conflict in the face of changing geopolitical balances and competing ambitions

Trees of Knowledge


The story of erosion in the face of diminishing societal trust

Blue Skies


The story of differentiation in the face of global systemic crises


The EPO Scenarios for the Future project was launched in 2004. It looks at how the patent system might evolve over the next 15 to 20 years, in order to get a clearer picture of the potential threats and opportunities.


Selected pages and chapters from the Scenarios for the Future compendium as PDF files.

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