A vision of sustainability: European Patent Office publishes Strategic Plan 2023

27 June 2019

Abstract image of the prism with words A sustainable office committed to excellence

The European Patent Office (EPO) has set out an ambitious vision to excel in its role as one of the world’s foremost intellectual property offices.

The EPO’s Strategic Plan (SP2023), unanimously adopted yesterday by its Administrative Council, focuses on achieving five goals that will ensure the EPO is capable of delivering excellence to all its stakeholders:  staff engagement, IT modernisation, quality, the European patent network and sustainability. It also highlights key initiatives within each area and projects that will be rolled out over the next four years, with some extending beyond the scope of the current plan.

"This Strategic Plan is a clear vision of how we want our Office to look in the future, and how we plan to achieve it," said EPO President António Campinos. "What we have now is a roadmap for achieving a more sustainable patent office for Europe, better equipped to succeed in an evolving IP landscape. We intend to be a more adaptable and agile organisation that can support inventors everywhere with improved and more responsive services. This may be ambitious, but with the commitment and expertise of our staff, we also believe that it is achievable."

SP2023 will help the Office to rise to complex new challenges, including an increasingly networked and globalised world economy, the emergence of new patent system players, evolving stakeholder expectations and rapid technological change.

The Strategic Plan identifies five main areas:

  • Build an engaged, knowledgeable and collaborative organisation: SP2023 looks at several areas that may help staff to realise their full professional potential and also at ways of identifying, recruiting and retaining talent
  • Simplify and modernise EPO IT systems: the plan looks at ways of simplifying and modernising the EPO's IT system. They include a single tool to support an end-to-end electronic patent granting process and further investment in prior art databases, with a special focus on Asian documentation and standards.
  • Deliver high-quality products and services efficiently: these initiatives are aimed at guaranteeing the high standard of EPO products and services and include a user-agreed definition of quality, as well as a more flexible patent granting process.
  • Build a European patent system and network with a global impact: co-operation with the national patent offices (NPOs) of member states and international partners will be strengthened. The EPO will review the financial and operational support that it offers to encourage greater participation, ensure cost-efficient and timely delivery and maximise the impact of co-operation activities.
  • Secure long-term sustainability: the plan outlines initiatives that will ensure the EPO's financial and environmental sustainability. The EPO intends to create an Observatory, a platform for discussion with public and private stakeholders and analysis. It will also set clear objectives for reducing its carbon footprint, lowering energy and paper consumption and eliminating plastics.

SP2023 was developed in two rounds of consultation with the 38 EPO member states, patent system users, the public, IP offices and EPO staff.

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