This report sets out the EPO's achievements in 2021, and our efforts to become a more agile and sustainable organisation. It is complemented by eight annexes that provide in‑depth insights into a diverse range of topics - from data protection to quality. Beyond being essential for good governance, these reports also reflect the importance of transparency to the EPO, and our desire to report openly on the progress made by our Office in the course of last year.
Our Annual Review 2021 shows that we are on course to become a more sustainable organisation, embracing digital transformation and collaboration to help us achieve this aim. As we move forward with our Strategic Plan 2023 (SP2023), more and more of the projects and programmes of our five strategic goals are delivering benefits for the many stakeholders who have an interest in the shared success of the Office. It is a testament to the efforts and commitment of our staff that we have been able to achieve this in a period of increasing patent applications.
In 2021 our colleagues also successfully managed the constant evolutions of the pandemic and prepared to adapt further to a new landscape and capitalise on new opportunities in a post-pandemic future. The adoption of Towards a new normal by the European Patent Organisation's Administrative Council in June 2021 provides our Office with strategic orientations that supplement the goals of SP2023 and will help us respond to a landscape that has been irrevocably changed. Accordingly, in the second half of 2021 we were busy preparing measures to expand the digital workplace and accelerate the digital transformation that was already underway, revise the way we use our buildings, and implement new ways of working to bring unparalleled flexibility to the EPO community - while maintaining our sense of togetherness.
None of this progress would have been
possible without the feedback, input and support of our stakeholders. It is
this strong dialogue that helps us ensure our services continue to correspond
to the needs of our users in a changing patent landscape. So we sincerely hope
that this Annual Review not only charts the progress being made together to
create a more sustainable EPO, but also reflects the work being done to build a
stronger patent system that reflects the aspirations of all.