10 May 2019
The EPO has held its annual Search Matters conference at its headquarters in Munich. The three day event, which has run for 31 consecutive years, offered training to patent search professionals from around the world. The programme focussed heavily on search strategies and techniques used by the Office.
The event was multi-faceted and comprised various learning formats, including at-the-desk sessions, interactive workshops as well as plenary lectures provided by EPO examiners and external experts. For the first time in the history of Search Matters, the programme featured a panel discussion that delved deeper into artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications in searching.
”The EPO recognises the potential that AI holds for patent offices,” said EPO President António Campinos after the event. “In the future, AI will be one of several tools that support prior art searching and in doing so, ensure that the quality of our services remains high while improving operational efficiency.”
As with past editions, this year’s programme kicked off with at-the-desk sessions, in which participants worked one-to-one for half a day with an EPO examiner in a pre-selected technical field of their choice. These sessions provided a unique opportunity to experience first-hand how an examiner performs a search in a specific field while giving valuable behind-the-scenes insight.
The workshops and lectures covered the challenge and complexity of searching in a wide spectrum of fields such as automotive, chemistry and ICT, with a particular focus on AI. Participants were able to take a closer look at the impact of AI and blockchain on searching, as well as learn more about general search strategies, Asian prior art, the CPC classification system and search tools such as the new Espacenet and WIPO’s Patentscope.
The recording of the plenary lectures will be made available on the EPO’s website shortly.