6 April 2022
Yesterday, more than 50 members of the SACEPO Working Party on Quality (SACEPO WP/Q) met online to discuss the EPO's quality actions and its definition of quality. This meeting followed on from the SACEPO WP/Q meeting conducted in October 2021, during which an assessment exercise took place which involved 24 Stakeholder Quality Assurance Panels. This exercise responded to the vision, stated in the Strategic Plan, of working with our users to build a shared understanding of quality for EPO products and services.
Yesterday's meeting included presentations of quality and timeliness achievements at the EPO for the year 2021. SACEPO members also welcomed a report on the implementation of the Unitary Patent and the entry into force of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
During the meeting, user representatives participated in a lively discussion which focused on the EPO's quality actions for 2022. Specifically, their input was sought with respect to the EPO's Patent Quality Charter, which comprises a list of principles defining the EPO quality policy. In addition, the More Effective Office Actions initiative that will introduce a clear and uniform structure of precise headings and sub-headings for search opinions was warmly welcomed by several SACEPO members.
Finally, relevant topics for the EPO's user satisfaction survey 2022-2023 were gathered and working group members were briefed on the preliminary results of the online survey regarding the EPO's new Ombuds Office, which is due to start work in mid-2022. The Ombuds Office will offer support to those who experience difficulties in their dealings with the EPO and who have exhausted the existing resolution channels.