First EP validation & PCT e-filings for NPOs

The IT Co-operation programme covers an extensive range of tools and applications used by the EPO, national offices in member states and applicants. Further details are set out in Goal 4 and in Annex 2 of the EPO Strategic Plan 2023.

Central to the programme is the creation, together with National Patent Offices and end user representatives, of a new generation of online filing tools providing a modern Front Office to all participating member states.  This started with the successful launch of new EP (or NP) filing software solutions together with the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) and the State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania with Greece's national Industrial Property Organisation (OBI) becoming the third office to pilot the service since Jan 2022.

Two further key milestones in the IT Co-operation programme have now been achieved in the form of the first EP Validation and PCT filings at national offices.

On 6 April, Ms. Jurga Petniunaite from AAA Law filed the first online EP Validation request via the State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania using the new Front Office filing software. The same day, a test of the end-to-end PCT application using the Front Office filing software was completed via the Spanish Patent Office (OEPM). The latter paves the way for subsequent live filings, once further fine tuning and testing of integration with OEPM systems is completed.

Easy-to-use Front Office software is key to the successful uptake of online tools by applicants, which in turn helps national patent offices (NPOs) to deliver improved quality products and services. Both milestones reported here were achieved thanks to the intense collaboration between the national offices concerned, EPI representatives, EUIPO, and EPO teams.

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