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The article is written by Nikhil Thakur from Manav Rachna University. In this article, the author has briefly explained the European Patent Office (EPO) strategic plan 2023.

Table of Contents

Introduction

European Patent Office (EPO) was established through the Paris Convention of 1883. European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the agreements sanctioned in the field of technology to ensure the spread of trade and economic growth.

EPO has enumerated a few strategic plans that ensure or provide a certain blueprint to achieve its vision that is distributed over the five goals. The plans lay out the steps and initiatives that have to be taken to ensure sustainability and excellence. The plans enlisted by the EPO not only provide what is to be achieved indeed how to achieve it with the partnership. The plans are not an exhaustive list rather they provide or symbolise the aspirations and the commitments of the stakeholder to achieve excellence.

The mission of the strategic plan, 2023

European Patent Office (EPO) through the strategic plan of 2023 is seeking to provide high-quality patent and valuable services to encourage and promote innovation, competitiveness and economic growth.

The vision of the strategic plan, 2023

EPO to establish a universal standard in intellectual property is seeking to empower, motivate, promote and inspire its staff and members. To achieve its mission they shall ensure transparency, responding to the requirements of the end-users and being proactive while dealing with the dynamic demands. Their commitment would help secure a safer, smarter and more suitable environment.

Strategic plan, 2023

Chiefly, five goals that have been determined by the EPO are:

  1. Build an engaged, knowledgeable and collaborative Office.
  2. Simplify and modernise EPO IT system.
  3. Deliver high-quality products and services efficiently.
  4. Build a European patent system and network with a global impact.
  5. Securing long-term sustainability.

Build an engaged, knowledgeable and collaborative Office (Goal-1)

EPO is an understanding based institution and its achievement is based on the proposition of loyalty, dedication and mastery of highly skilled staff and members. The institute shall carry on to magnify the working environment that attracts and embraces the most luminous minds in Europe in order to advance their expertise and abilities, promote professional development, strengthen the transfer of knowledge and promote cooperation, and provide an appropriate working atmosphere. 

Besides this, a few key initiatives have been adopted by EPO to accomplish goal-1:

Attract talent

Through all these years, the institute shall work as an employer that influences or attracts the most luminous minds amid the competitive atmosphere. Efficient and productive workforce planning shall allow the institute to tackle the contemporary issues or conundrum and further adjust to upcoming development. 

Develop talent

For more reliable performance and staff coordination, professional advancement plays a pivotal role. EPO shall be training the employees to achieve their full potential and directing its members or staff to intensify their abilities, skills and competencies.

Foster professional mobility and work-life stability

Though in the modern world a disbalance is possible between professional and private lives, the EPO shall be more agile and permit its staff to be more comfortable and mobile and allow its members and staff to have better stability between professional and personal life.

Further develop a modern, sustainable and healthy working condition

The aim behind EPO is to promote a better working environment by adopting modern techniques which shall ensure sustainability and promote health and safety standards. More flexibility of hours of working be ensured to it, members or staff. This initiative will ensure more reliable performance and positive attitude of the staff members.

Improve communication

Communication and coordination play a pivotal role in the advancement or development of an institution. This can be ensured via having appropriate communication techniques that are reviewed regularly and the tools opted are modern. EPO plans to have a two-way flow of communication to promote greater understanding and coordination.

Foster social dialogue

Besides having better communication it is important to have a social dialogue in all forms, that includes direct dialogue with staff, union, representatives etc. This initiative not only ensures commitment or support but also develops a sense of trust and mutual understanding amongst the members.

Simplify and modernise EPO IT system (Goal-2)

In the time of the digital revolution, EPO shall be working to enhance themselves in the field of digital transformation that will permit engagement amongst the staff members and the end-users.

The key initiatives adopted by the EPO to achieve their goal-2 are:

Implementing an effective patent tool

For the welfare or the convenience of the staff, members, users and stakeholders the EPO is seeking to enter the field of digital transformation. EPO is attempting to establish or develop a single tool that is beneficial and time effective concerning the end-to-end electronic patent grant process that shall be serving a combined approach.

Enhancing the erstwhile EPO tools

It is expected that the end-to-end electronic patent tool shall continue to follow the path beyond the strategic plan of 2023. But still, there are a few changes that are required for the improvement in the prevailing tools utilized by the office. The instant initiative is aimed at promoting and encouraging productivity and satisfaction of the staff members.

Establishing new online user engagement

EPO is seeking to install an online platform that shall be engaging end-users including an unprofessional audience. This initiative is aimed at promoting trust between the office and the users.

Implementation of common tools

In order to cope with the contemporary digital transformation, EPO is attempting to develop and execute a standard tool along with numerous Intellectual property (IP) offices. EPO’s collaboration with the European Patent Network (EPN) shall promote EPO to have an assessment of potential ways to cooperate on the search and may offer support in the field of common interest.

To modernise and digitalise corporate services

During the digital era, it is important to digitalise corporate services and implement the best process that is beneficial to the office. The initiative shall bring transparency in the process and shall lower the organisational workload. 

Building an innovative ecosystem

For the past 20 years, EPO has been engaged in the process of developing an open-source tool, to achieve this the office shall be building an innovative ecosystem that permits the staff and the members of the EPO to provide redressal at all the stages of the patent grant process system. 

IT vendor management function and revising IT sourcing policy

EPO is developing an IT vendor management function to examine and enhance the performance of the services it provides. The instant initiative shall allow the office to determine where to invest or when to outsource the same to IT professionals.

Augmenting agility, reliability and security of EPO system

If EPO needs to cope up with the digital transformation it shall build and establish a technical infrastructure that will ultimately help in securing agility, reliability and security of the EPO system. 

Deliver high-quality products and services efficiently (Goal-3)

The third goal is aimed at encouraging higher standards of EPO products and services and promoting a universally agreed definition of quality. Further, it aims at simplifying or allowing more flexibility to the patent granting process.

The key initiatives adopted by the EPO to achieve their goal-3 are:

Mastering prior art

To ensure and develop trust, EPO must gather the latest documents on technological development to ensure and develop a trust level that allows an effective and high-quality search. This initiative shall promote the gathering of essential, correct and reliable data/information.

Improving the quality

Since its inception, EPO has been considered a legal provider of robust patents, and to retain such a position it must develop and execute measures that aids in advancing the quality of the product and the services rendered by EPO.

Offering more flexibility to the patent grant process

EPO has been trying hard to remove all the backlog and is expecting to remove all of them in the coming years. The initiative will promote a steady-state regime and allow the applicant or users to experience a faster patent grant process.

Promoting coordination and knowledge transfer

Delivering high-quality products and services is possible only through better coordination and knowledge transfer among the office’s team members. 

Simplifying patent procedures and processes

Over the past few years, EPO has been an outstanding performer and is possible only because of its highly trained and cooperative staff members. So, if it has to retain its position it shall work on simplifying the patent grant procedure and processes that are user-friendly.

Stock management improvement

Though the office is moving ahead towards the steady-state regime, it must maintain a balance between the prior and the new applications to avoid unnecessary workload. 

Developing innovative products and services

To survive in the competitive world and cope up with the digital era, it is important to be different from others, hence, EPO has been developing innovative products and services that are beneficial for all the users and the applicant.

Build a European patent system and network with a global impact (Goal-4)

The fourth goal aims at ensuring that Europe remains an internationally attractive business through its efficacious intellectual property rights system. Further, it aims at promoting and encouraging better coordination among its state members and strengthening ties. 

The key initiatives adopted by the EPO to achieve their goal-4 are:

More access to patent information

Over the past many years, EPO has seen a surge in the number of applications along with this it has encountered various competitive players like the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), United States Patent & Trademark Office, etc. To tackle all these conditions, EPO has been developing a patent information system that is complete, authentic, correct and user-friendly.

Better access to patent knowledge

EPO’s aim of spreading the knowledge of IP is one role while the other being is to establish the European Patent Academy as a benchmark for excellence in IP training.

Cooperation advancement

The primary role of the EPO is to ensure cooperation among its staff members and the various national patent offices. The initiative aims at promoting the extensive participation of the members.

Prioritising cooperation

Under this, the EPO shall be consulting its member states to establish novel cooperation projects. The cooperation shall be based on the premise of IT, advanced understanding, mutual understanding and best practices.

Expanding the European patent system and its networking

The clear aim of the EPO is to attract as many users and new applicants and for this EPO is working on expanding its jurisdiction or scope. To attain this, EPO has developed a three-tier framework that is based on validation agreement, reinforced partnership agreement and technical cooperation.

Secure long-term sustainability (Goal-5)

The fifth goal aims at taking appropriate measures to ensure financial and environmental stability, better governance, transparency and corporate sustainability. Further, it aims at promoting less carbon footprint, lowering energy and paper consumption, etc.

The key initiatives adopted by the EPO to achieve their goal-5 are:

Strengthening governance

This initiative aims at promoting and strengthening governance both at the political as well as corporate levels.

Enhancing process effectiveness

The value upon which EPO works is excellence. So, to continue working on their values, it is possible only via a proper and efficient review system. 

Promoting transparency

Trust level is an important aspect that binds the users with the office, hence EPO has been placing greater emphasis on transparency.

Corporate sustainability

EPO being a responsible public institution has a deep impact on society that may help in minimising the environmental impacts and encourage newer sustainability.

Stakeholder involvement

Like the world is changing very fast, similarly, the patent regime and its processes are changing too hence, EPO has developed an observatory where the public as well as private stakeholders put forth their views in response to the economic impact of the patent.

Conclusion

The basic idea or objective behind the EPO’s strategic plan 2023 is to develop a blueprint or a layout to accomplish an appropriate patent office for Europe along with new techniques, a vast network and modern equipment. The aim is to provide world-class services to the end-user and be proactive in tackling all the challenges.

Reference

 


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