30 June 2020
The EPO published its Annual Review 2019 today highlighting the progress made in implementing its new strategy, SP2023. The plan aims to ensure the EPO remains a sustainable organisation, and continues to provide high-quality patent services that foster innovation and contribute to growth.
Published in a new format and replacing the former Annual Report, the review outlines the main achievements and activities carried out under each of the five goals of the Office's Strategic Plan 2023, adopted in June 2019. It includes key operational results, as well as detailed reports on specific areas such as quality, environmental sustainability, risk management, social aspects, engagement, international co-operation, communication and IT.
"With the launch of our Strategic Plan last year, we laid the foundations of a major change," said EPO President António Campinos. "All of the achievements of 2019 have helped to make sure the European patent system serves European innovators and society, and is attractive also to other regions. And, importantly, these changes set us up to face the challenges of 2020 - and to face them successfully, with quicker decision making, more agile and collaborative structures, and digital preparations that have enabled our staff to work from home."
The Annual Review 2019 shows that the EPO successfully dealt with a record number of applications last year. The Office received 181 406 European patent applications in 2019, up 4.0% over 2018. In response, our patent examiners carried out a total of 421 250 search, examination and opposition products. A major effort was made in reducing the backlog of work, with the classification backlog being eliminated entirely - an important milestone for the Office. Last year the EPO also published 137 787 European patents, +8% compared to 2018. And the timeliness of the Office's search, examination and opposition work all continued to improve.
Beyond the operational results, the 2019 Review also highlights that it was an important year for shaping the future direction of the organisation, with the launch of the EPO's Strategic Plan 2023, and first steps towards implementing it. The report looks at progress made towards each of the plan's five strategic goals, including investing in staff, ensuring our services and products are of the highest quality, building a European patent system with a global impact, advancing the Office's digital transformation, and securing our long-term sustainability.
To see some of the highlights of 2019, watch our video.
 For all the latest statistics and trends on European patent applications and granted patents, see our Patent Index 2019 published on 12 March 2020.