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11 June 2018
The EPO has today published a summary of achievements resulting
from the extensive modernisation reforms put in place between 2010 and 2018.
The changes have enabled the Office to be more competitive, more quality
oriented, more efficient, more financially secure and ready to face the
challenges of tomorrow.
In 2010, after more than thirty years of existence, the EPO was
facing a number of significant challenges, such as a rising number and
increasing complexity of patent applications. There was a widely-shared
understanding among the different stakeholders that the long-term
sustainability of the Office was at stake. Based on a mandate from the EPO's
member states, an intense programme was implemented to modernise the
The EPO today – a performant and competitive patent office
One of the widest programmes of reforms experienced by a public agency has delivered a range of benefits to the EPO’s stakeholders.
- Delivering High Quality
Services - The EPO developed ways to
provide quicker, easier and simpler access to comprehensive patent information.
Patent applicants at the EPO now also benefit from better services that
include a timelier patent granting process, reduced fees and patent
coverage in up to 44 countries covering a market of some 700 million
consumers. User feedback has been gathered through a multitude of channels
and has confirmed increasing levels of satisfaction with the EPO's
products and services, year after year.
- A more efficient and
competitive public organisation - A
focus on our core business has allowed the Office to increase its
examination capacity by 10%, while the overall EPO headcount has remained
stable. Together with a reorganisation of the patent granting process and
investments in IT, this has helped the EPO achieve its best performance to
date. Production has increased by 36% and the stock of outstanding work
has been reduced by 27% during the last three years. The number of patents
granted is also up by +82%. Higher performance and better cost control have
also reduced the unit cost and put the EPO in a stronger financial
- Modernised Working Conditions - The Office has profoundly reviewed its social
framework and working conditions, providing more clarity, fairness and
sustainability, as illustrated by a new Career and Performance Management
system that is now based on performance and merit. The reforms also
ensured that EPO staff continue to benefit from regular salary increases
and an extensive social package that compares favourably to other international
organisations and the private sector. The EPO has also focused on
providing state of the art workplaces for its staff, such as its new
building in The Hague, which is set to offer nearly 2000 work spaces in an
innovative and environmentally friendly office premises.
- An Influential Global Player - In 2011, the European Patent Network was
reengineered to create a stronger and more efficient organisation. At the
same time co-operation was enhanced on the global stage and joint projects
with the world's largest patent offices (EPO, SIPO, USPTO, KIPO, and JIPO)
have avoided duplication of work and facilitated the spread of patent
information. Enhanced bilateral co-operation with numerous partners has
also helped develop validation agreements and allowed the EPO to offer
patent information to its users from around the world. That means 800
million records, containing over 100 million patent documents and stored
in over 120 specialised databases.
- Social Responsibility and
Transparency - As a responsible public
institution, the EPO has increased the transparency of its activities on
key subjects such as social conditions and quality. The annual results and
major developments at the EPO are given at an annual press conference and
the Office has also invested increasing amounts in activities that raise
awareness on the importance of patents for the economy, such as the
European Inventor Award and numerous extensive studies.
"Thanks to an ambitious series of reforms, the EPO of today is a
vastly different organisation to that which existed in 2010", says EPO
President Benoît Battistelli. "This striking story of successful modernisation
has enabled the Office to provide higher quality, more timely and competitive
services. We are now a more sustainable organisation, better placed to face any
future challenges in the international patent system. I would like to take this
opportunity to warmly thank all staff and managers of the Office for these