Quality – The European Patent Office’s Top Priority
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Quality – The European Patent Office’s Top Priority

The European Patent Office’s 2017 Annual Report delivers an interesting insight to the workings of the organization and the impressive scale on which it delivers its services. Following our earlier summary, we now take the opportunity to focus on one of the report’s key highlights – quality.

In 2017, European Patent Applications increased by nearly 4% to 165,590 – the most the European Patent Office (EPO) has ever received. The record year also saw over 310,000 European patents filed. An increase in the number of validation states now sees a single patent application able to provide protection in up to 44 countries and reach over 700 million consumers. Given the scale of its operations, it is imperative that the EPO has robust procedures in place to deliver timely, high-quality services to meet this increasing demand.

In his foreword to the report, the EPO President Benoît Battistelli underlines the fundamental importance in the quality of granted patents. Related developments in 2017 saw SACEPO, the EPO’s advisory body, establish a subgroup for quality, the production of its first ever Quality Report and recertification to a more stringent ISO 9001 certification for the entire patent process.

The EPO also received external recognition for its continued commitment to quality when an external industry-wide survey of large IP offices ranked it in first place for the quality of its patents and services, for the sixth successive year.

Quality also encompasses the need for timeliness and is essential to ensuring applicants have the information they need to help them decide, as early as possible, whether or not to continue with the granting procedure. The EPO has successfully reduced processing times and now delivers a search report in 4.8 months, several weeks ahead of its six-month target. It is now focusing on further reducing the length of time required for examination and opposition.

The requirement for quality resonates throughout the entire patent lifecycle and RWS, as a key player in the supply chain, must take its lead from the EPO in this regard. Applicants must be as confident with the services RWS provides as they are in the proficiency of the EPO to grant the patent protection they require.

RWS’s approach to delivering a quality European patent translation and validation service mirrors the approach taken by the EPO. It too is certified to ISO 9001, produces regular quality reports and focuses on continuously improving the quality and timeliness of the service it delivers. Its processes combine numerous and comprehensive verification steps, managed and monitored through its custom European Filing Management application.

For more information on RWS’s market-leading European patent translation and validation service, or any of the other services offered by its Patent Translation & Filing division, go to www.rws.com or email ipsales@rws.com.