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In response to the rising demand for patent protection in Europe, the EPO has taken significant steps in the past few years to improve quality processes and enhance efficiency, ensuring high productivity without compromising on quality. The 2016 annual results show that the reforms are paying off: The number of products delivered by EPO patent examiners grew by 8.5% in 2016 to 396 000.
|Searches on behalf of
national offices and third parties
|International preliminary examinations||
The EPO offers a system of internal legal remedies to review its procedures and safeguard the quality of its patents. Anyone may oppose a European patent within a period of nine months from the mention of its grant. In 2016 the EPO issued some 4 100 opposition decisions, with an opposition rate of 4%. In these cases, 72% of the patents were upheld either as granted or in an amended form.
Over the last two years, the EPO reduced by 25% its stock in terms of months of work (from 19.5 at the end of 2014 to 14.7 at the end of 2016) in patent searching and examination and also opposition.