CodeFest on Green Plastics

Help achieve a more sustainable future

EPO CodeFest on green plastics video

The EPO's first ever public CodeFest tackles one of today's key sustainability challenges: ridding the planet of plastic waste. Global success depends on access to the right kind of know-how and that's what this major new competition is all about: making the know-how contained in patents concerning green plastics more readily available to innovators everywhere.

The ultimate aim is to inspire future innovation that supports healthy ecosystems and drives the circular economy for plastics. In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we are taking our commitment to sustainability and monitoring green technologies to the next level with initiatives such as the CodeFest on Green Plastics, which is of special relevance to SDG 12.


The EPO's unparalleled data resources are relied upon by a range of governmental and international organisations, such as IP Offices, the OECD, International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) and European Commission, as well as researchers and patent information specialists. The CodeFest on Green Plastics is a major opportunity to help improve access to these data resources and contribute to the development of an automated classification scheme for sustainable technologies. The competition will also help prepare the way towards creating a platform for exchange on AI-based approaches to organising the EPO's wealth of patent information.

Further information

The code challenge

CodeFest key visual

Some of the groundwork has already been done in a recent EPO study on patents for tomorrow's plastics. This shows how patent data reflects the rapid rise in innovation in plastics that are easier to recycle, as well as in recycling technologies. The study also suggests that there is great potential to turn pioneering research in the field into inventions that can then be brought to market. "Patents for tomorrow's plastics" provides an excellent introduction to the topic and an important starting point for anyone wishing to take on the current code challenge, which is:

To develop creative and reliable artificial intelligence (AI) models for automating the identification of patents related to green plastics.


We are calling on talented minds aged 18 and over to register for the event by 13 November 2022, either in an individual capacity or as a team of up to five people. Anyone resident in one of the EPO member states is eligible to enter. Teams of EPO colleagues, external entrants or a mixture of both are all welcome!

In order to participate you must meet all eligibility criteria included in the rules of the competition.

The prizes

Each of the prizes will be accompanied by a trophy.

  • Grand Prize winner: EUR 20 000
  • 1st runner-up: EUR 15 000
  • 2nd runner-up: EUR 10 000


Submissions will be evaluated by senior specialists from across the EPO working in sustainability, IT, data science and AI, as well as patent information and analysis.

Abderrahim Moumen

Abderrahim Moumen
Abderrahim is the EPO's operational Director of Data Communications and Applications. He also co-chairs the AI and Emerging Technologies Task Force in operations, is a member of the Computer-Implemented Inventions working group and has managerial responsibility for standards. His areas of interest include AI, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, 5G, smart antennas and standards. Prior to joining the EPO in 2000 as an examiner working in the field of antennas and microwaves, Abderrahim completed a Ph.D. in telecommunications and radar technologies at Delft Technical University, in The Netherlands.

Alexander Klenner-Bajaja

Alexander Klenner-Bajaja
Alexander heads up the EPO's Data Science department and manages the EPO's strategic artificial intelligence programme. He organized the first ever internal EPO CodeFest and developed the winning solution into an operational product. He has in-depth knowledge of machine learning as well as AI metrics and evaluation criteria.

Angel Aledo López

Angel Aledo López
Angel joined the EPO in January 2019 and was appointed Chief Technology Officer in March 2019. During his career, he has held different positions in both technical and managerial roles and contributed to the digital transformation of several organisations. Angel has also assisted with academic research, the development of tools for the management of IP rights and corporate websites and advised widely on the use of state-of-the-art technology to improve business processes. 

David Horat

David Horat
David is Head of Prior-art Data Management at the European Patent Office, leading an international team of over 100 people delivering more than 1 000 data pipelines. He was previously IT Director at the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands, where he led the organisation's digital transformation, and a software engineer at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), where he architected a federated grid computing testing system that monitored the resources of over 300 data processing centres. David holds an M.Sc. in computer science, an LL.M. in intellectual property and business management and an executive programme certificate in leadership.

Domenico Golzio

Domenico Golzio
Domenico currently advises the EPO's Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer. His previous positions include Director of Search and Examination Unit, where he led a team developing tools for prior art search and patent information and created the artificial intelligence (AI) department. He Domenico has conducted research into various aspects of intellectual property rights, including the relationship between patents and innovation, patent information, international patent portfolios and comparative analysis of different patent systems. Prior to joining the EPO as a patent examiner in the field of ICT, Domenico worked as an electronic engineer in the telecoms, automotive and aerospace industries. He holds a degree in physics.

Marco Bravo

Marco Bravo
Marco is the EPO's Director of Patent Knowledge Promotion and acting Director of Patent Data Management. He is an expert in innovation, technology transfer and IP-based commercialisation. Mr. Bravo has founded four tech companies and a business angel fund, and actively mentored over 200 technology entrepreneurs from multiple countries. His professional experience spans industry, academia, government, and entrepreneurship, with extensive cross-cultural experience in Europe, the United States and Asia.   

Roberta Romano-Götsch

Roberta Romano-Götsch
Roberta is Chief Sustainability Officer at the EPO. In her previous roles at the EPO as Chief Operating Officer, first of Mobility and Mechatronics and then of Healthcare, Biotechnology and Chemistry, she was responsible for leading patent examiners, managers, formalities and administrative staff in Munich, Berlin and The Hague.  Roberta received her PhD in organic chemistry from the Technical University of Munich and was R&D product manager at Procter & Gamble before joining the EPO in 1997.

Yann Ménière

Yann Ménière
Yann joined the EPO as Chief Economist in 2016. For many years, he has provided expert economic insights into issues relating to patents, innovation and growth, including as a regular contributor to a range of public and high-level forums. Prior to joining the EPO, Yann led the Chair on IP and Markets for Technology at MINES ParisTech, where he was a professor of economics. He also lectured on the economics of intellectual property (IP) at Imperial College London, the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium and CEIPI in France. His research and expertise relate to the economics of innovation, competition and IP.


There are five key stages to the competition:

Thursday 15 September 2022, 12.00 hrs CEST
Registration opens!

Registrations closed!

Entrants must register for the challenge until 13 November 2022, 23.59 hrs CET. Registration includes entrants submitting an outline of their approach for solving the code challenge. Proposals must include an explanation of the intended approach and indicate the intended data selection, the possible model implementation and model evaluation.

13 - 14 November 2022
The jury evaluates the submissions.

Tuesday 15 November 2022, 12.00 hrs CET
The code challenge is on!

The jury communicates the outcome of the previous evaluation to participants. All successful candidates will be given access to our EP full-text dataset and to Open Patent Services (OPS). The code challenge runs for just over eight weeks and solutions must be submitted until 15 January 2023 at 23.59 hrs CET.

16 January - 3 February 2023

The jury evaluates the submitted solutions and selects the finalists of the code challenge.

Monday 6 February 2023

Announcement of the finalists!

Finalists are invited to the EPO CodeFest on Green Plastics ceremony.

Thursday 23 February 2023, 14.00 hrs CET

EPO CodeFest on Green Plastics ceremony

During the online ceremony, the winners are announced and prizes awarded. Details of the full programme will follow soon.


Registration to join the competition is closed

Registration deadline

Sunday 13 November 2022.

Data Protection Statement (DPS)

Rules of Competition (RoC)

Award ceremony

Over 60 individuals took up the code challenge to develop an AI model that improves access to patent information on green plastics. After fierce competition, six finalists convinced the jury with their creative code, demonstrating how their models could help innovators learn from patent know-how and rid the planet of plastic waste.

Follow the online award ceremony on Thursday 23 February 2023, from 14.00 to 15.00 hrs, where all six finalists will present their ingenious solutions before we reveal the three winners.

Don’t miss out!

The registration is handled via XING SE but there is no need to have a XING profile.


What are “green plastics”?

“Green plastics” is a generic term and does not come with an exact scientific definition.

Plastics referred to as “green” are generally plastics with a reduced or minimised environmental impact when they are produced, used, recycled, upcycled, disposed of, when they decompose, etc. They exhibit one or more of the following properties: source renewability; biodegradability/compostability after end of life; possible to process in an environmentally friendly way.

Equally, a process that makes plastics greener would also fall under “green plastics”, for example a form of chemical recycling that makes PET greener by enabling it to be recycled more efficiently and minimising waste.

As “green plastic” is not a specific material but a way to look at the whole lifecycle of a material, we ask participants to include an explanation of their intended approach to solving the code challenge (see rules of competition “Proposals for solving the challenge” and “Submissions of solutions to the code challenge”). This explanation should clearly indicate what aspects of green plastics are included in the proposed solution to the code challenge. For further background information on the kinds of plastics, materials and processes that may be considered for inclusion, please consult the publication Patents for tomorrow’s plastics.

What is the input and output of the artificial intelligence (AI) or classifier?

The expected output is an AI model capable of identifying patent and non-patent documents related to “green plastics”. Any published information, including patents, can be used to train the AI. However, you could come up with a more creative idea on how to train the AI. We welcome your creativity.

Can the CPC classification be used to create a dataset that can then be used as a training set?

Participants are free to draw upon all forms of established classification, including IPC/CPC/Y02, etc., that are considered useful to developing creative and reliable AI models for automating the identification of patent and non-patent literature related to “green plastics”.

Can I publish the code after the CodeFest?

We state in the “Rules of Competition”, in the section “Intellectual property”, that participants own the rights to the Submission they create and, therefore, the rights to publish and upload the software. However, as also stated in the same section, if you use data and/or APIs or other copyrightable material owned by third parties, you must abide by the terms and restrictions they might have specified.

If you do publish your Submission, we would appreciate it if you acknowledge that the code and any results were created while participating in the EPO’s CodeFest on Green Plastics.

Is the CodeFest solely concerned with English-language documents?

There is a priori no limitation on the languages to be used in the CodeFest: all patent documents can be considered, regardless of language.

However, we request that the results are presented using any of the EPO official languages: English, French, German.

Can I register without a proposal and submit my proposal later?

Registration for the CodeFest can only be completed once we receive your proposal. If you have started the registration process, remember to submit your proposal by 13 November.

Is there a specific format in which I must submit my proposal?

There are no restrictions. Feel free to use the format you consider best suited to describing the concept, process and data object of your proposal.

What data is the EPO giving CodeFest participants access to?

The successful candidates selected from all those who have completed the registration process will be given free access to two EPO products: our EP full-text dataset and Open Patent Services (OPS).

Access to the EP full-text dataset provides the successful candidates with the full text of the entire collection of EP publications (A and B). Further information on the EP full-text dataset.

OPS data is extracted from the EPO's bibliographic, worldwide legal event, full-text and image databases and is therefore from the same sources as used for Espacenet and European Patent Register data. For further information on OPS.

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