​​EPO meets with Canon

On 22 May, the European Patent Office (EPO) met Canon, a Japanese company known for its optical, imaging and industrial products. During the meeting, Canon expressed its appreciation for the EPO and frequently acknowledged on the improvements made in recent years. The company considers the EPO one of its key partners in protecting its technologies worldwide, stating that they have “the utmost respect for the EPO”. Canon highlighted the quality of the EPO’s work and underlined the improvements in timeliness.

This was one of 50 such meetings the EPO will hold this year under the Quality Action Plan initiative "deepened dialogue with our users". Direct user engagement provides the EPO with valuable insight and helps to identify areas in which improvement is needed.

Hideki Sanatake, Canon Head of Corporate Intellectual Property and Legal Headquarters, participated in an interview after the meeting.  He praised the EPO’s searches for prior art, particularly for standards documents. However, he perceives the EPO’s examination approach as occasionally too strict, and underlined the importance of striking the right balance between patent owners and third parties to ensure good inventions receive an appropriate breadth of protection. “There is no question that the EPO is a high quality office. By cooperating with us and with others, we think there is room to get even better.” He also praised the EPO examiners: “We know that EPO examiners are highly skilled and we have nearly never experienced technical misunderstandings.

This is the third interview in the series “The voice of our users”. In each episode, we invite users to share their views on the EPO and our practices.

Operational topics such as clarity were covered during the meeting. Canon gladly accepted the EPO’s invitation to participate in a technical follow-up workshop to deepen the discussion on these topics. 

About Canon

Canon was ranked 27 in the Patent Index 2023 with 679 patent applications. It is active in 4 business areas: printing, medical, imaging and industrial. The company’s products include lenses, cameras, medical equipment, scanners, printers and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.