20 December 2018
Forty years ago today the EPO published its first European patent application, EP 0 000 001. Filed by the European Atomic Energy Community, the application related to a "thermal heat pump". The corresponding European patent was granted on 7 January 1981.
EP 0 000 001 was only one in a batch of 112 applications published on that day. Others included a "Combination lock" (EP 0 000 003), a "Lifting device" (EP 0 000 008), and a "Method for the manufacture of amino-formaldehyde resins" (EP 0 000 096). They came from applicants based in Luxembourg, Sweden, the UK, the US, Japan and other countries.
"Those first patent applications marked the initial contribution from the then recently opened European Patent Office to the worldwide collection of patent information," said EPO President António Campinos. "The EPO has published more than 3.4 million patent applications since - and over 1.7 million granted patents. These documents provide information about the latest developments in all areas of technology. Providing public access to them has always been an integral part of the EPO's support to innovation in Europe."
2018 has marked a number of anniversaries for patent information in Europe, including 30 years since the adoption of a dedicated patent information policy by the European Patent Organisation, 20 years since the launch of the EPO's free online patent search tool, Espacenet, and 10 years since the Federated European Patent Register was conceived.
In November this year the EPO also launched a beta of its new Espacenet service to ensure efficient and rapid access to patent information as the volume of data grows.