Press release | 30.6.2020
Munich, 30 June 2020 - The European Patent Office (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.
To read the full report, please visit Annual Review 2019.
The EPO has amended its reporting cycle and now publishes its patent filling statistics in March as the Patent Index, and its operational results and update on developments under the Strategic Plan in the Annual Review (formerly Annual Report) in June. The Annual Review 2019 also contains five annexes, some of which have been published as separate reports in recent years, namely the Quality Report, Social Report and Environmental Report, in addition to two new ones: the Engagement Report and IT Report. The reports provide a comprehensive overview of these topics and can be used to chart progress on numerous indicators, thus contributing to transparency.
With nearly 7 000 staff, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Headquartered in Munich with offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, the EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
The Strategic Plan 2023, adopted by EPO member states in June 2019, focuses on five goals spanning all key areas of our activities: staff engagement, simplifying and modernising IT systems, high-quality products and services, a European patent system and network with a global impact, and long-term sustainability. The plan's five goals are being implemented as project portfolios co-ordinated by a project management office in the EPO's new Corporate Governance Service (CGS). The Strategic Plan was developed in consultation with the EPO's 38 member states, patent system users, the public, national intellectual property offices and EPO staff in two rounds of consultation to ensure that the Office's priorities strike a balance between all its stakeholders' needs.
Luis Berenguer Giménez
Principal Director Communication
EPO press desk
Tel.: +49 89 2399 1820
Mobile: +49 163 8399527