23 May 2023
The EPO has today published a firefighting platform with an initial selection of some 30 smart patent information searches giving easy access to lifesaving technologies. This is the third Espacenet platform, following the "Fighting Coronavirus" and "Clean energy technologies" platforms.
Forest fires represent a severe threat to the ecosystem, human life and the economy. According to the latest European Commission report, 2022 was Europe's worst year in terms of burnt areas and number of fires since 2006 with 26 of the EU's 27 members states adversely affected. Last summer, more than 830 000 ha of land across Europe was devasted by forest fires, more than ten times the area of the Black Forest, causing approximately 2.5 billion euros in economic damage. With the intensity and frequency of forest fires on the rise, supporting innovation in this field remains critical.
As a world leader in supplying technical information, the EPO is deepening its commitment to sustainability by making specialist know-how available to a broader audience. This platform makes it easy for researchers, entrepreneurs and decision-makers to navigate a wealth of patent information in a precise way and search for lifesaving technologies in firefighting, fire detection and prevention, fire extinguishing, protective equipment and post-fire restoration. All users of firefighting technologies can also benefit from this platform to find out which technologies are out there to help them.
The ready-to-use search queries have been developed by European Patent Office experts, together with patent examiners and analysts from the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek and French national patent offices.
The searches on our new firefighting platform initially cover four key areas and will be regularly updated. First, those on fire detection and prevention provide the latest insights into fields such as AI and machine learning, aerial technologies, cameras, sensors and space observation. Then there are solutions for fire extinguishing, including aerial, automotive and missile technologies, along with extinguishing products and equipment. The section on protective equipment showcases items that protect people involved in extinguishing fires, along with equipment that safeguards structural elements in forests, such as tension towers and remote buildings. Finally, the searches on post-fire restoration relate to the methods and techniques used to restore and rehabilitate forests and other natural areas damaged by fire.
The smart searches are especially suited to run on the EPO's free to use online patent search interface: Espacenet. This public database contains more than 140 million documents from more than 100 intellectual property authorities around the world. Any user can now access the results of these smart searches.
In line with its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EPO will also promote the role of intellectual property by co-organising an international conference next week with the Portuguese Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The event, Thinking about Industrial Property, Sustainability and the Future of the Planet, will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on 29/30 May. It will be a chance to discuss and exchange ideas on how intellectual property can incentivise and protect innovation and the work of inventors, while building a greener and fairer future.
During the conference, the EPO will present a highlight report on its patent knowledge-sharing activities linked with seven UN SDGs. The EPO has made it its core mission to provide greater access and democratise patent knowledge as patents play a crucial role in promoting innovative solutions to achieve the UN SDGs.