European Patent Office
The European Patent Office (EPO) plays a vital role in driving the knowledge economy by enabling organizations to benefit from investment in research and development. EPO embarked on an important change program to modernise its IT-infrastructure in a way that not only benefited EPO through a more streamlined grant process, but also allowed companies, researchers and inventors to realise important efficiency gains. EPO is set to become one of the most advanced, fully digital patent offices in the world, enabling applicants and inventors to register their patents in the most efficient and cost effective way.
EPO selected Be Informed as their comprehensive and secure case management system, that will digitally process patent applications at all stages of the patent grant process including:
The knowledge-based patent management system helps both those filing a patent application and those overseeing it, through every stage of the process. From the inventor and his or her representative point of view, this means that the number of errors and unnecessary delays are minimised. Validations are done as early in the process as possible, enhancing quality of the application and hence the chance of reaching the goal without unnecessary delays. The applicant has easy access to all his or her applications, at any time, from any location and through any communication channel, and has a clear view on the status of his or her applications. Notifications are given in time for the applicant to take action before a fatal deadline is passed.
From the viewpoint of EPO employees this means an easy to use, integrated toolset that helps doing the work in the minimum amount of steps. No more retyping cumbersome numbers, switching applications, and so on, and especially no more failures and rework because of unnecessary errors. EPO staff are provided with smart, semantically aware tools for helping in tasks such as classification. Collaboration is enhanced by providing different EPO workers with a tailored view on the same case. A formalities officer should not be shown information or navigation paths that are only relevant to an examiner and vice-versa. Overviews and reports only showing relevant information are available to the worker at relevant moments.
The new case management system replaces almost all of the EPO’s automated processes that currently exist. It supports the filing of 250,000 patent applications the EPO receives annually, plus the electronic processing of some 2.5 million transactions. According to the EPO’s estimates, the new system will reduce the number of applicant-Office interactions significantly which results in annual savings of tens of millions of euros for the user community.
The challenges of this case were: