2020: Opposition hearings by VICO

The almost total switch to videoconferencing for oral proceedings in examination and opposition ensures access to justice, greater transparency and saves thousands of flights across Europe. By 2021, a monthly average of over 320 opposition hearings are conducted by VICO. Overall, the number of pending cases is reduced from the peak of 6 523 at the end of 2020 to under 5 000 in September 2022, comparable to levels before the pandemic.


2020: Patent Workbench launches

As part of the rapid acceleration in the EPO’s digital transformation following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Patent Workbench creates a single interface for interactions between examiners and formalities officers at the EPO. Digital workflows and annotation tools are progressively integrated, enabling the Office to cover over 99% of all workflows digitally, across the whole patent grant process.


2020: First digital conference on 3D printing

All EPO events go digital, including conferences, User Days, patent information events and training for patent professionals. The first digital event is the conference Shaping tomorrow: 3D printing and its impact on IP. Further major conferences follow on artificial intelligence in 2021 and technologies of transformation in 2022.


2020: Fighting coronavirus platform

This is the first of a series of online EPO platforms to provide smart searches that make patent information more readily available, particularly to researchers seeking to understand the latest inventions in fields that must respond to current global challenges. The platform provides smart searches in four key areas: vaccines and therapeutics; diagnostics and analytics; informatics; and technologies for the new normal.


2021: “Towards a new normal” public consultation

The EPO launches a public consultation on its "Towards a new normal" orientation document, which is designed to complement the EPO's Strategic Plan 2023 and provide the basis for new ways of working in a post-pandemic environment.


2021: EPO adopts new environmental policy

The new environmental policy outlines the EPO’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. As a large employer with sites across Europe, the EPO recognises its responsibility to contribute to environmental efforts at local and global levels.


2021: MyEPO Portfolio


A new, secure web-based online service ‒ MyEPO Portfolio ‒ provides a fresh approach to working with the EPO on portfolios of applications and patents. Users can view their application portfolios and documents, receive their EPO Mailbox communications and perform procedural acts in response to communications from the EPO.


2022: Clean energy platform

An initial selection of some 60 smart patent information searches is published to coincide with COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. With a focus on renewable energy, solutions for carbon intensive industries and energy storage, these smart searches aim to help innovators contribute to the decarbonisation of the global economy within the coming three decades. The launch of the clean energy platform is accompanied by the publication of new EPO webpages profiling the latest developments in green tech.


2022: New reinforced partnerships

The number of reinforced partnerships reaches twelve after new agreements are signed with Columbia in 2020, with Saudi Arabia in 2021 and with Ukraine and Peru in 2022.


2022: EPO extends ISO certification

The scope of ISO 9001 certification of quality management, which has covered the patent granting process since 2014, is extended to the entire EPO's quality management system. In addition, certification of our information security management system (ISO 27001) is achieved for the first time and our occupational health and safety management system (ISO 45001), first certified in 2020, is re-certified.

Did you know?

Our archive of the Guidelines for examination (EPC) goes back to the year 2001.

Guidelines archive

Decade in review

  • 2020: Digitalisation of workflows massively accelerates in light of COVID-19 pandemic
  • 2022: Patent applications published by the EPO exceed four million
  • 2022: Montenegro joins European Patent Organisation
  • 2022: Espacenet now contains over 130 million documents
  • 2022: António Campinos reappointed President of the EPO