2010: Benoît Battistelli takes over as EPO President
Frenchman Benoît Battistelli becomes the EPO's sixth President. Before taking up the post, Battistelli was Director General of the French National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI) and Chairman of the European Patent Organisation's Administrative Council. Battistelli aims to balance inventor and industry interests with those of society and the economy. He looks to provide transparency on the criteria the EPO uses to determine patentability, and to increase the dissemination of patent documentation.
2010: EPO and USPTO agree on Cooperative Patent Classification
To promote greater harmonisation of patent classification and migrate towards a common classification scheme, the USPTO and the EPO agree to launch a Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), a new joint classification system for patent documents. Based largely on the EPO's ECLA scheme and incorporating the best practices of both offices, the CPC makes it possible to conduct more efficient and targeted patent searches.
2011: Web-based consultations for legal changes begin
The EPO provides a web-based consultation platform so that patent system users can participate in the law-making process of the European Patent Organisation. The EPO posts draft amendments to European patent law and practice, and users are invited to respond in surveys on the proposed changes.
2012: European Parliament approves legislation to create Unitary Patent
Capping decades of work towards, an agreement on the establishment of a European Union patent, or Unitary Patent, is reached during a European Council meeting on 28-29 June. Once established, a granted Unitary Patent will be valid in all participating countries and, unlike the existing European patent, will no longer be a collection of nationally enforceable patents bundled together. The system will reduce translation and maintenance fees and will also create a unified patent court for all participating countries.
2012: Patent Translate launched
The EPO's machine translation service, Patent Translate, removes language barriers to patent information. Soon after its launch, the automatic translation service, which is powered by the most advanced machine translation technology available, covers more than 90% of all patents in Europe in 13 European languages, plus Chinese. In 2013, the number of available languages offered grows to 22, with ten more scheduled for implementation before the end of 2014.
2013: 25 EU member states sign Agreement on Unified Patent Court
Tackling the last major hurdle for the adoption of a Unitary Patent, all but two EU member states sign the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court, Spain and Poland being the exceptions. The Unitary Patent is now set to enter into force at an unspecified date after 1 January 2014. A group of amendments still require approval by the European Council and Parliament. A committee charged with creating a roadmap for establishing the Unified Patent Court indicates that early 2015 is a realistic target date for the court and the Unitary Patent to take effect.
2013: Cooperative Patent Classification adopted
The CPC is officially launched at both the USPTO and the EPO on 1 January. Espacenet switches from ECLA to CPC, allowing for more efficient prior-art searches. Its implementation boosts efficiency through work-sharing initiatives and helps reduce unnecessary work duplication. In June, the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) signs a Memorandum of Understanding stating that it will start publishing some of its patent documentation using the CPC after receiving training from the EPO. SIPO aims for CPC adoption on all new patent applications from 2016.
2014: Foundation stone laying ceremony in The Hague
The new building replaces the tower that has housed the EPO in Rijswijk since the 1970s. The modern design places a strong focus on sustainability and incorporates the latest environment technologies for buildings, such as a solar energy plant and Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage. In addition to minimising impact on the environment, the New Main will ensure a state-of-the-art, healthy, safe and comfortable office environment for the EPO’s staff.
2014: EPO and SIPO launch first Global Dossier service
The Global Dossier builds on the groundwork of the IP5 offices - a forum for co-operation among the patent offices of China, Japan, Korea, the US and the EPO aimed at modernising the global patent system. The service uses an IP5-agreed standard to retrieve on demand, via the European Patent Register, SIPO file-wrapper content for Chinese applications also filed at the EPO. It performs an automatic machine translation when Chinese documents are requested in English.
2014: New "Early Certainty from Search" scheme to improve legal certainty
The scheme benefits companies and inventors seeking patent protection in Europe by ensuring timely delivery of all search reports and opinions on their applications, giving them a sound basis for their patenting strategies early on. It also benefits the general public by enhancing the transparency of pending patent rights in Europe, providing an overview of prior art and patentability at an early stage in the proceedings.
2014: ISO 9001 certification for patent granting process
ISO 9001 certification is an internationally recognised standard for quality management systems. The process of certification requires senior management engagement, solid processes and monitoring as well as staff commitment.
2015: European Inventor Award celebrates 10th anniversary
The tenth European Inventor Award ceremony takes place on 11 June 2015 at the Palais Brongniart in Paris.
2015: Validation agreement with Morocco enters into force
Under the validation system, anyone filing a European patent application can request validation for Morocco and pay a validation fee. European applications and patents validated for Morocco have the same legal effects there as Moroccan ones, and are subject to Moroccan patent law.
2015: EPO publishes its staff rules and regulations
Previously published only internally, the Service Regulations have been made available to all stakeholders and potential job applicants. Their publication puts the EPO on a par with other leading international organisations in terms of the transparency of its internal regulatory framework. Ranging from recruitment to retirement, and including staff rights and obligations, the career system, working conditions, and remuneration and benefits, the regulations provide a detailed legal framework for employment at the EPO.
2017: Boards of Appeal reform
The position of BoA President was introduced as one of the main pillars of a package of measures aimed at increasing the efficiency of the Boards and enhancing the perception of their independence. Under powers delegated by the President of the EPO, the BoA President is responsible for the BoA Unit, in both its administrative and judicial aspects, and is answerable directly and solely to the Administrative Council.
2017: International co-operation anniversaries
Since 2007 the world’s five largest patent offices - the EPO, the JPO, the KIPO, the SIPO and the USPTO - have worked to improve access to the patent system and give innovators from IP5 regions greater legal certainty. The Trilateral Offices (EPO, JPO, USPTO) have pioneered electronic data exchange and set global standards. Recent achievements include the development and improvement of the Common Citation Document (CCD) service, which provides easy web access to results from patent searches carried out by multiple offices for the same invention.
2017: First ever Quality Report & ISO 9001 recertification
The EPO publishes its first ever Quality Report, an annual review of how the Office implements its quality policy in all of its products and services, and again achieves ISO 9001 certification for the entire patent process.
2017: Validation agreements in Africa and Asia
Following an agreement between the EPO and Tunisia, as of 2017 European patents can be validated and thus regarded as national Tunisian ones. The EPO also signs an agreement with Cambodia (in force as of 2018) allowing European patent applications and patents to be validated there, its first validation agreement with an Asian nation.
2018: EPO inaugurates new premises in The Hague
The EPO inaugurates a new building on its site in Rijswijk, near The Hague, in the presence of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.Designed by renowned architects Ateliers Jean Nouvel (Paris) and Dam & Partners Architecten (Amsterdam), the landmark building unites bold contemporary architecture with sophisticated, state of-the-art infrastructure.
2018: António Campinos becomes President
A Portuguese national, António Campinos has a strong record of executive leadership experience in the intellectual property field.He is elected for a five-year term in October 2017 by the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, the EPO's legislative body. Prior to his appointment as President of the EPO, he was the Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante/Spain from 2010 until 2018.
2019: EPO publishes its Strategic Plan 2023
The EPO’s Strategic Plan (SP2023), outlining its vision for the years ahead, focuses on achieving five goals that will ensure the EPO is able to deliver excellence to all its stakeholders: staff engagement, IT modernisation, quality, the European patent network and sustainability. Unanimously adopted by the EPO’s Administrative Council, it also highlights key initiatives within each area and projects to be rolled out over the coming years.
2019: International co-operation
The newly signed reinforced partnerships with Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, and African regional organisation ARIPO, follow a similar agreement with South Africa. As a result of these and other international co-operation agreements, the geographical coverage of our products and services grows significantly, to cover a territory of up to 1.9 billion inhabitants.
2019: Strategic partnership with China
The EPO and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), agree to enhance their bilateral co-operation in the framework of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The offices agreed to launch a pilot project enabling nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China to opt for the EPO as their 23International Searching Authority (ISA) for applications filed in English under the PCT.
Did you know?
Our archive of the Guidelines for examination (EPC) goes back to the year 2001.Guidelines archive
Decade in review
2010: Albania and Serbia join European Patent Organisation
2013: 80 million documents now available on Espacenet
2015: EPO's ISO 9001 certification extended to cover the entire patent process
2016: EPO publishes 300 000th patent specification
2016: Espacent now contains over 90 million documents
2018: EPO launches first-ever reinforced co-operation programme with South Africa
2018: António Campinos takes over as President of the EPO
2018: EPO inaugurates new building in The Hague
2019: Launch of new Espacenet