8 June 2017
The success of the EPO's quality management strategy has been confirmed once again by the Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) magazine. The annual benchmarking survey, published last week, shows that the EPO is rated top among the world's five largest patent offices (IP5) for patent quality and service by the 800 patent professionals surveyed.
IAM readers were divided into three categories: corporate IP managers, executives working for non-practicing entities (NPEs) and private practice lawyers and attorneys. They were asked about various aspects of the work of the EPO, Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Patent Office (KIPO), the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the State Intellectual Property Office, China (SIPO).
All three groups rated the EPO's quality and service to be the best of the five patent offices surveyed. Of those that provided a response, 92% of NPEs, 94% of private practitioners and 92% of corporate respondents regarded the quality of patents issued by the EPO as "excellent", "very good" or "good". 15% of corporates and 19% of private practices who responded also said that quality further improved at the EPO over the past year.
When asked about the EPO's services, the percentage of those responding who rated them as Excellent, very good or good was higher in all three categories of respondents compared to last year, rising to 90% for private practices.
"Our commitment to quality and efficiency remains absolute," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "We are striving for quality improvements every year, with an update of our existing ISO 9001 certification for our entire patent granting process planned this year, stringent quality checks and audits, new timeliness initiatives under the Early Certainty programme, and better electronic tools and documentation. The results underline that the EPO has maintained high quality work while also managing to issue 40% more granted patents in 2016. Our drive for quality and efficiency is bearing fruit."
The EPO has now received top marks for quality in each of the six surveys that IAM has published since 2010. The EPO will also for the first time ever publish a comprehensive quality report detailing the measures that are taken to reinforce and improve quality further throughout the patent granting process. The report will be published later this month and made publicly available via the EPO's website.