13 November 2017
New opportunities for patent information offered by technology trends were the focus of the 27th Patent Information Conference that took place last week in Sofia, Bulgaria. In the presence of the Bulgarian Deputy Minister for the Economy, Lachezar Borosov, EPO Vice-President Raimund Lutz outlined in his opening speech the key role of patent information services in the promotion of innovation.
The conference was attended by some 350 participants coming from 45 countries. Those attending heard how the EPO is increasingly focusing on usability to enable more users to search data efficiently and easily, while ensuring the reliability and correctness of the data.
"Businesses are coming to depend on reliable IP statistics for revealing the latest trends in technology. Patent information and statistics can also help identify candidates for emerging technologies that might become key players in the market, helping to define business strategies," Mr Lutz told the conference in his opening speech. The EPO Vice-President also addressed the issue of freedom-to-operate analyses with the help of patent information: "The EPO's legal status databases are indispensable for this type of search, and we are proud to be the world's no. 1 provider of legal status data."
The high quality of the EPO's data was highlighted by Google in their presentation on the development of the neural machine translation engine. Over the course of the last year the technology has been deployed in in the EPO's free machine translation tool Patent Translate to produce more accurate translations than ever before. Participants also learnt about the developments taking place in the EPO's international cooperation projects which were helping to provide more accessible and up to date patent information to the EPO's users.
The EPO is the world's leading provider of patent information and continually adds new tools and services to its range of products, some in co-operation with member states or international partners, such as the grouping of the world's five largest IP offices (IP5), the World Intellectual Property Organization or the EU Intellectual Property Office. Through its commitment to being a leading patent information provider, the Office now has some 100 million documents in its bibliographic collection from around 90 patent issuing authorities.