5 July 2017
The EPO has published its first ever Quality Report - a new annual review of how the Office implements its quality policy in all of its products and services. A comprehensive report outlining a detailed set of quality indicators, it aims to increase transparency on the effects of that policy, while also serving as an additional instrument for the EPO to systematically monitor and improve its measures relating to quality assurance.
"Against the backdrop of the growing awareness and use of intellectual property rights, the quality of IP-related products and services is becoming a decisive element for companies, inventors and the public," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "Only legally robust patents provide the certainty that businesses need when seeking protection for their inventions. They ensure that the European patent system remains an efficient and reliable platform to promote innovation. The publication of this dedicated report demonstrates the commitment of the EPO's management and staff to continuous improvement of patent quality."
The 2016 report sets out the principles behind the EPO's quality culture, which is rooted in the founding principles of the Organisation, and was reinforced through the Quality and Efficiency strategy introduced in 2011. It gives detailed information on the EPO's ISO 9001-certified quality management system to measure and assure quality throughout the entire patent process from the receipt of a patent application through to search and examination, to the publication of the patent specification. Staff recruitment policies, training, documentation and electronic tools in the patent process are also described.
Another chapter outlines the EPO's customer service and its "Early Certainty" timeliness initiatives, which aim to speed up search, examination and opposition procedures, and thus provide enhanced certainty early on in the process about the chances of a patent application being granted - another important aspect of quality.
The report also lays out the EPO's initiatives aimed at engaging with its users and collecting their feedback - which is one of the main sources for improvements to services and procedures at the Office. Publication of this report is a further example of the EPO's commitment to dialogue with its users.