2014 has been a very positive year for the EPO. We have seen an increase in filings, plus 3% compared to the previous year. But we have also increased our production, that is, search reports and examinations, and so shown our capacity to address this increasing demand. In addition, we have increased our quality: we have been certified ISO 9001 and we are the first office among the IP5 (the five biggest offices in the world) to obtain this certification for the whole granting process.
We have been very active in 2014, so I could quote many successes or projects. But I would like to mention just a few of them.
The first one is the implementation of reforms to modernise our social framework. Of course, these reforms have generated some resistance. This is the usual resistance to change. But what is important is to recognise that these reforms bear fruit, are successful and are positive for the Office.
Another interesting success was extending our geographical area through the signature of a validation agreement with the Kingdom of Morocco. Now we have 41 countries which recognise European patents as national patents. This is positive; it is a win-win agreement for European companies and for Morocco.
We have continued to develop our CPC, Cooperative Patent Classification, which is now becoming a world standard: more than 10 offices worldwide are using this very sophisticated classification scheme.
And the last example: Patent Translate, our free automatic translation service, accessible on our website, which facilitates access to documentation, mainly of Asian countries where the languages are difficult for us Europeans - especially Chinese, Japanese and Korean, but also Russian. This is becoming a very popular service: in 2014 we received something like 17 000 to 18 000 requests per day for this service.
In 2015, we are going to continue to implement this efficiency and quality strategy.
We will continue with our social reforms and implement, for instance, our new career promotion scheme: now all promotions will be based on individual performance and merit.
We are also going to continue to increase our international co-operation. A special mention here goes to China: in 2015 we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of our co operation with China, which has been extremely important for the development of the world's patent system.
Of course, the big issue is the unitary patent. We are making progress on the preparatory work, and we will do our best to ensure the first unitary patent can be granted in 2016.
"we have increased our quality: we have been certified ISO 9001 and we are the first office among the IP5 to obtain this certification"