Discussion rounds

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The discussion rounds at the conference are your chance to get involved and help the EPO to set its priorities for European patent information in future.

Except for a super-workshop for expert users which is planned for 31 October, all discussion rounds and tutorials will take place on 29 October 2019.

IMPORTANT! Pre-registration is required for the discussion rounds.

Every conference delegate is entitled to participate in one discussion round (depending on seat availability). To register, please use the online form. We will not grant admission to people who have not registered in advance.

09.00 - 10.30 hrs
Discussion round 1

What is the potential for offering chemical structure searching in the EPO's online search tools?

For Espacenet users working the field of chemistry, a long-standing wish in terms of new Espacenet features is chemical structure searching. This discussion round will explore what users would like to see in this respect what is already offered in other tools and what, in detail, the potential new feature should include. It will also look at the work that would be involved and try gauge the level of priority it deserves compared with other users' wishes.

Summary (PDF, 151 KB)
Report (PDF, 34 KB) 
Discussion round 2

Will classification maintain its value as the impact of AI on patent searching increases?

On the one hand, some people dream of being able to conduct patent searches without having to understand patent classification systems and with artificial intelligence taking this task over for them. On the other hand, other people say this dream is way off and that classifications are here to stay. The EPO and other patent offices are using AI to help them pre-classify documents and direct them to the right experts for the fine details. What is the future for classifications from the users' perspective?

Summary (PDF, 166 KB)
Report (PDF, 75 KB) 
Discussion round 3

Now new Espacenet is available, what gaps remain?

Presented at the Patent Information Conference 2018, new Espacenet is available as a beta version. Now that users have had time to look at it in detail, what is their feedback? And what remains to be done?

Summary (PDF, 153 KB)
Report (PDF, 80 KB) 
Discussion round 4

What can the EPO contribute to due diligence, freedom-to-operate searching and IP management tools?

The importance of freedom-to-operate searching and other high-level search work has been stressed time and time again at recent Patent Information Conferences. The patent information landscape offers a broad range of solutions for this search work, from commercial products to the free services offered by patent offices. What is the EPO's role in all of this and what is the best contribute it can make to ensuring that searchers have access to all the data and tools that they need?

Summary (PDF, 156 KB)
Report (PDF, 40 KB) 
10.45 - 12.15 hrs
Discussion round 5

When the computer does the search – how far can we rely on AI for patent searching?

Presentations at the Patent Information Conference in 2018 drew attention to the risks of accepting searches performed using "black box" algorithms. As artificial intelligence grows in importance, how reliable is it, and to what extent should patent information experts trust the search results they get, and their reproducibility? This discussion round will look at AI and the impact it is having on the work of a searcher. It will also ask about who is liable for the search when it is done by a computer.

Summary (PDF, 153 KB)
Report (PDF, 127 KB) 
Discussion round 6

EP, US and JP data in INPADOC – what should the priorities be?

The EPO has been able to make considerable progress this year regarding the coverage of EP, JP and US legal event data in the INPADOC database. Achievements include:

  • EP: revision of the operating processes; availability of more data
  • JP: earlier availability of legal event data; complete revision of the operating processes; gaps closed
  • US: availability of information on the status of US applications and patents.

The discussion round will overview the recent achievements and their usefulness for patent information users. We will also discuss what priorities should be set in the future to make INPADOC data from these offices even more useful.

Summary (PDF, 157 KB)
Report (PDF, 110 KB) 
Discussion round 7

The changing face of prior art searching – new media, copyright legislation, defensive publications

Years ago, prior art was largely covered in paper documentation and the main problem was accessing documents all over the world. Today, access to global data is available, but there are new challenges the prior-art searcher has to face:

  • prior art published in electronic format, even in videos or on social media
  • stricter copyright rules that might restrict access to some literature
  • defensive publications and an increasing relevance of non-patent literature

What can searchers and patent offices do to overcome these hurdles?

Summary (PDF, 347 KB)
Report (PDF, 139 KB) 
Discussion round 8

If patent information searchers and business analysts use statistical reports, statistical data, technology maps and patent landscapes in their IP strategy consulting services, what tools or products should the EPO provide to help with this quest?

Since its creation, the EPO has published annual reports that document its activities and strategic goals. Gradually this was extended with the extra "facts and figures" and some EPO products such as ESPACENET and Global Patent Index started providing basic statistics and graphs. This in turn triggered the curiosity of the economists and policy makers and they demanded access to more and better data to support econometric analysis. To satisfy those needs, the EPO created PATSTAT which has become a flagship product for advanced statistical analysis. Access is possible via SQL queries, but this can represent a major hurdle for newcomers to the database.

  • Should the EPO provide easier tools for statistical analysis?
  • What kind of business information do you want?
  • Are patent analysis tools something the EPO should provide at all ?
  • Is there a place and role for the EPO in the market of patent analytics activities?
Summary (PDF, 175 KB)
Report (PDF, 123 KB) 

Further information on registering for discussion rounds

There is space for about 30 participants in each discussion round. Based on the principle of first-come, first-served, we will place each conference registrant in their first choice. If this is not possible, we'll look for a place in the second choice. We try to avoid placing two participants from one company or organisation in one discussion round.

During the final two weeks leading up to the conference, any remaining places in the discussion rounds will be filled by taking into account registrants' second and third choices.

Discussion round chairmen

Are you interested in chairing a discussion round? Please write to conference@epo.org.

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