31 October 2019
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Around 350 patent professionals from 45 countries are gathering at the EPO’s 29th annual Patent Information Conference in Bucharest this week to discuss the latest developments in the field, and especially the impact of digital technologies on searching and using patent data.
The event, organised in co-operation with Romania’s State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), was opened by EPO President António Campinos, and OSIM President Ionuţ Barbu, with Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Andrei Iancu delivering a keynote speech.
"Patent information is a key element in economic growth,” said OSIM President Barbu, in his welcome address. “It plays an important role in fostering innovation and progress and creates knowledge, thus supporting users in filing higher quality patent applications."
EPO President Campinos highlighted the value of patent information and the Office’s commitment to providing the highest quality services to innovators: “Patent knowledge – understanding the information in patents and deriving knowledge from it – is enormously important for business and researchers in today’s globalised knowledge economy. That is why we will continue to enrich the content of our databases and ensure their accuracy, while providing the best possible ways of searching them; we will strive to offer statistical data tools that provide a meaningful picture of technology trends; and we will continue to support users with training and services to help them exploit the wealth of information found in patents.”
In his keynote, USPTO Director Iancu underlined the important role of intellectual property for the next Industrial Revolution: “AI, self-driving vehicles, biotech, personalised medicine, 5G communications. And there will be technologies we cannot even imagine yet. IP creates perpetual innovation at accelerating rates. Our IP system must be robust and flexible enough to accommodate and enable these technologies,” he said.
The EPO Patent Information Conference is Europe's largest patent information event. Participants include patent searchers from industry and private practice, providers of commercial patent information services, and experts from patent offices, with more than 30 exhibitors showcasing their tools and services.
At the three-day conference, presentations and discussion rounds are focusing on the future of the patent searching profession, and the impact of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and semantic search on searching and using patent data. In addition, hands-on training sessions give delegates practical advice on a variety of topics such as search strategies, extending protection beyond 20 years, patent analytics, and Asian patent data.
Patents are granted in exchange for making inventions public. The publication of patent applications – which is mandatory 18 months after they are filed – provides access for the public to the latest technical developments, enabling other researchers and inventors to understand and build on them. The resulting patent documentation constitutes an invaluable source of information that can be accessed and used freely by anyone. For companies and inventors, beyond protecting their inventions and helping them to avoid legal pitfalls, patent information is an important tool for business intelligence, for example enabling them to reduce R&D expenditure, identify licensing partners, observe industry trends and keep an eye on competitors.
The EPO is one of the world's leading authorities in patent information and patent searching. Today anyone can use the EPO's Espacenet database to access over 110 million patent documents related to inventions and technological advances from around the globe.