Strategic key performance indicators

Figure 4 – Balanced scorecard with end-2023 figures

Source: EPO

In 2023, the EPO made progress towards the goals set out in the Strategic Plan 2023 (SP2023). The balanced scorecard key performance indicators (KPIs) show the impact and benefits of our activities.

Under Goal 1, a dedicated dashboard shows results from the Staff Engagement Survey conducted in 2022. Compared to the previous survey, improvements are evident in 10 out of 13 categories, including empowerment, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, agility and flexibility. This outcome reflects our efforts to create a collaborative working environment with engaged and knowledgeable people.

With a view to simplifying and modernising our IT systems, activities under Goal 2 focused on delivering reliable, innovative and efficient solutions to ensure long-term digital resilience and agility. We monitored the availability of our systems as we gradually introduced new tools and adapted our infrastructure. The relevant KPI ("Availability of existing and new tools") shows steady progress since the end of 2022, when the major infrastructure projects were consolidated into business-as-usual. By the end of 2023 the KPI reached the target of 98% availability, thanks to decommissioning of old legacy systems, investment in state-of-the art tools and improvements in monitoring incidents.

The proportion of processes digitalised in the patent granting process (PGP) and in corporate areas grew by 71% during the SP2023 reporting period, rising from 51.3% in December 2019 to reach 87.8% at the end of 2023. In addition to improvements in the corporate area with the implementation of for example a new procurement tool (iValua) and the tools for financial planning and analysis, the global pandemic accelerated the implementation of remote work solutions and paperless workflows in the PGP. 

Improvements and investments in online tools and fee payment services, the popularity of the register services and administrative services such as the Mailbox have all contributed to high levels of satisfaction among users, with the relevant KPI showing 84.5% satisfaction among internal and external users in 2023. The enhanced digital interactions through the user area in MyEPO Portfolio allowed us to increase both the efficiency and the quality of communications with users. By the end of 2023, 7 584 patent attorneys were connected to the Mailbox (up from 2 332 at the end of 2019) and the number of mailboxes increased from 558 at the end of 2019 to1 611 (+188%).

User satisfaction with PGP products and services also remained high, with 79.3% of users saying they were satisfied in the latest user satisfaction survey in 2023.   

The quality of search and grant remained stable at high levels throughout the whole SP2023 period, demonstrating our commitment to deliver high-quality products and services efficiently (Goal 3).

In the course of SP2023, the EPO has intensified its efforts to deal with its examination stock and to handle old examination files effectively while processing the high incoming search workload. As a result, at the end of 2023, 77.2% of standard examination products were delivered within 36 months.

The EPO is committed to strengthening our network of partners supporting the European patent system. Goal 4 activities of SP2023 brought a notable expansion in geographical outreach, reflecting both the broader geographical coverage of the European patent system and the increased utilisation of EPO work products (search and examination) by non-member states. Since June 2019, the number of reinforced partnerships has grown from two to 13 and the population coverage from 0.87 billion to 2.16 billion, resulting in an increase in the size of the market for European patents of almost 1.3 billion inhabitants (+150%).

With the aim of monitoring the impact of co-operation efforts, a dedicated KPI measured member state participation in the various working groups, projects and activities. Thanks to the improved offering of projects in the co-operation catalogue, tailored to the needs of the member states, and the EPO's financial commitment to co-operation with an increased budget, at the end of 2023 the participation rate reached 84%, exceeding the set target. Overall, 74% of the member states participated in the convergence working groups on allowable features in drawings and on issuing and accepting electronic priority documents and 80% in the IP outreach project.

The number of visits to a range of online patent information services has grown from 3.9 million visits per month in June 2021 to 11.9 million visits per month at the end of 2023, showing a significant increase in the demand for patent information online services.

To secure long-term sustainability, the EPO has made significant strides in enhancing environmental sustainability. Overall paper consumption was reduced by 88% during SP2023, driven mainly by the impact of digitalisation and the adapted working environment in the New Ways of Working. At the end of 2023 daily paper consumption per person was 12 sheets compared to a target of 15.

Our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint is also shown by the efforts in reducing energy consumption. The introduction of emergency measures to save energy, the implementation of planned improvements in the buildings and the reduced occupancy rates contributed to lowering the energy consumption by 24.4% at the end of 2023 compared to the end of 2021. Despite a slight increase in carbon emissions in 2023, which was due to cooling agent losses caused by ageing infrastructures, the carbon emissions KPI indicates an overall reduction of over 41% in CO2 equivalent emissions since 2020. 

Also in 2023, we remained steadfast in upholding the highest standards of governance. Committed to continual improvement, our operations maintained the ISO certifications for occupational health and safety management, information security management, and quality management.

Finally, we maintained diligent oversight of our financial health to uphold the financial sustainability measures adopted in 2020. Despite challenging macroeconomic conditions, the coverage ratio KPI improved by 8% in 2023 and reached 76.6% at the end of the year.


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