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Archived updates for Wednesday, June 30, 2004

EPO: Record number of granted European patents for 2003

Last year, the EPO granted nearly 60 000 European patents, 27% more than in 2002. Incoming filings totaled 162 200, slightly up (1.1%) on the figure for 2002 (160 430).   About 50% of applications came from member states of the European Patent Organisation, 27% from the USA (2002: 28%) and 16% from Japan (2002: 15%). The main technical fields involved were medical technology, electronic communications and data processing. The EPO is also reporting progress in its efforts to reduce European patent grant times, from just under four and a half years at present to the three-year target set by its member states. In the first quarter of this year, over 22% of applications were processed within that period.
"Over the last eight years, the European Patent Office has continued to improve its efficiency and effectiveness", said the outgoing EPO President, Dr h.c. Ingo Kober, reviewing the key aspects of his presidency at the 2004 annual press conference. For example, patent filings have risen by 110% since 1995 (79 200), and the number of patents granted by 46% over the same period. "Since 1997, we have increased our productivity across the board by 17%, and cut unit costs by 8%," he is quoted as saying in a press release for the European Patent Office's annual news conference.  According to the EPO, the cornerstones of this improved performance include "a process of far-reaching reform to internal structures - such as bringing patent searching and substantive examination together - expansion of electronic dossier management and documentation systems, and a rigorous recruitment policy."
Courtesy of William F. Heinze*
Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley, L.L.P.
100 Galleria Parkway, N.W., Suite 1750
Atlanta, GA 30339-5948  (USA)
Tel.:  (770) 738-2382
Fax:  (770) 951-0933
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*Admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Not admitted in Georgia.
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