Fighting fire by sharing knowledge

23 May 2023

Firefighting technologies

The EPO has today published a firefighting platform with an
initial selection of some 30 smart patent information searches giving easy
access to lifesaving technologies. This is the third Espacenet platform,
following the “Fighting Coronavirus” and “Clean energy technologies” platforms.

Forest fires represent a severe threat to the ecosystem,
human life and the economy.
According to the latest European Commission report, 2022 was Europe’s worst year in terms of burnt areas and
number of fires since 2006 with 26 of the EU’s 27 members states adversely
affected. Last summer, more than 830 000 ha of land across Europe
was devasted by forest fires, more than ten times the area of the Black Forest,
causing approximately 2.5
billion euros in economic damage. With the intensity and frequency of forest
fires on the rise, supporting innovation in this field remains critical.   

As a world
leader in supplying technical information, the EPO is deepening its commitment
to sustainability by making specialist know-how available to a broader
audience. This platform makes it easy for researchers, entrepreneurs and
decision-makers to navigate a wealth of
patent information in a precise way and search for lifesaving technologies in
firefighting, fire detection and prevention, fire extinguishing, protective
equipment and post-fire restoration. All users of
firefighting technologies can also benefit from this platform to find out which
technologies are out there to help them.

The ready-to-use search queries have been developed
by European Patent Office experts, together with patent examiners and analysts
from the Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek and French national patent

This is just the beginning

The searches on our new firefighting platform
initially cover four key areas and will be regularly updated. First, those on fire
detection and prevention provide the latest insights into fields such as AI and
machine learning, aerial technologies, cameras, sensors and space observation.
Then there are solutions for fire extinguishing, including aerial, automotive
and missile technologies, along with extinguishing products and equipment. The
section on protective equipment showcases items that protect people involved in
extinguishing fires, along with equipment that safeguards structural elements
in forests, such as tension towers and remote buildings. Finally, the searches
on post-fire restoration relate to the methods and techniques used to restore
and rehabilitate forests and other natural areas damaged by fire.

The smart searches are especially suited to run
on the EPO’s free to use online patent search interface: Espacenet. This public
database contains more than 140 million documents from more than 100
intellectual property authorities around the world. Any user can now access the
results of these smart searches.

Tackling the United Nations’ sustainability

In line with its
commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EPO
will also promote the role of intellectual property by co-organising an international conference next week with the Portuguese Institute of
Industrial Property (INPI), the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The event, Thinking about Industrial Property, Sustainability and
the Future of the Planet
, will be held in
Lisbon, Portugal, on 29/30 May. It will be a chance to discuss and exchange
ideas on how intellectual property can incentivise and protect innovation and
the work of inventors, while building a greener and fairer future.

During the conference, the EPO will present a highlight report on its patent knowledge-sharing
activities linked with seven UN SDGs. The EPO has made it its core mission to
provide greater access and democratise patent knowledge as patents play a
crucial role in promoting innovative solutions to achieve the UN SDGs.

Further information


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