29 June 2022
The EPO published
its Annual Review 2021 today, complemented by a video
featuring highlights from the past 18 months. Together, they tell a story
of adaptability, resilience and a commitment to building a more sustainable
global patent system. Our organisation continued to deliver the latest benefits
of its digital transformation to users in 2021. Beyond solid progress with our Strategic
Plan 2023, we successfully managed the constantly evolving pandemic while
embracing new ways of working.
Review 2021 is accompanied by detailed annex reports offering insights into
key areas such as quality, environmental sustainability, international
co-operation, social aspects, IT, data protection and communication. In addition to
key operational results, these reports also reflect the central importance
of transparency and good governance to the EPO.
this year’s review, EPO President António Campinos said: “There can be no doubt
that the EPO’s digital transformation has deepened collaboration — both within
the organisation and with stakeholders worldwide. Coupled with progress in
implementing our strategic plan, it has enriched our efforts to continuously
improve the quality of our products and services.”
Review 2021 presents the results of a year in which the EPO received a
record 188 600 applications, an increase of 4.5% compared to 2020. As innovation regained momentum
after the slight decrease in applications in 2020, our patent examiners carried
out a total of 363 452 search, examination and opposition products in 2021.
Central to everything we do
The Office made significant strides in
2021 towards its ultimate goal of securing long-term sustainability. As well as
saving resources and reducing emissions, digitalisation has helped raise
awareness across the organisation of data-driven insights that support and
strengthen our financial independence, contribute to continuously improving our
environmental footprint and drive our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by
2030. It has also provided a basis for fostering a new sense of togetherness
and for the new ways of working. These aim to offer all staff greater
flexibility in organising their work and striking a better work-life balance,
while ensuring that the Office continues to deliver products and services of
outstanding quality. Taking the digital transformation to users meant preparing
the way for the launch of new convenient online tools and building on the
success of services that have also increased both the transparency and reach of
the patent system, such as oral proceedings in opposition by videoconference.
By the end of 2021, 71% of the
Strategic Plan 2023 was complete. At the time of publication, that figure
stands at 83%. The
progress has largely been possible thanks to the feedback, input and support of
our stakeholders. In a rapidly evolving patent landscape, dialogue with users helps
to ensure that our products and services continue to meet their needs.
For all the latest statistics and trends on European patent applications
and granted patents, see our Patent Index 2021,
published on 5 April 2022.