EPO User Day 2021: Engaging with our users on quality, timeliness and digital user services

EPO User Day 2021

Over 2 100
participants from more than 900 companies
registered for this year’s
User Day – the first digital edition, which took place on 19 and 20 April.
As the event celebrated its 20th anniversary, EPO experts updated users
on the latest developments in the Office’s digital services, including during heavily attended breakout sessions on Online Filing 2.0,
the EPO Mailbox, PCT filing, and oral proceedings by videoconference (VICO).
There were also lively panel discussions on quality and timeliness, the Patent
Index 2020 and the future of innovation, as well as new approaches to the areas
of environmental sustainability and diversity & inclusion.

EPO
President António Campinos opened the event by acknowledging the dedication of
the Office’s staff to delivering excellence in the face of unprecedented
challenges:

The
pandemic may have changed many things – but certainly not the EPO’s commitment
to quality. In fact, we’ve even seen clear improvements over the last 12
months. We don’t take that for granted of course. We will keep monitoring the
measures we are taking, often together with users, to continuously improve the
quality of our products and services.

This year’s User Day highlighted
once again the importance that the EPO attaches to engaging with users in as
many contexts as possible and at every level, from operational matters to the
bigger picture concerning patenting trends and questions of policy. With a
range of EPO experts contributing, from key account managers to examiners and
senior management, the proceedings complemented ongoing consultations with user
representatives that take place in fora such as the Standing Committee before
the EPO (SACEPO).

Overall, the event showed that, by strengthening and expanding the
spectrum of online services, the EPO remains agile and responsive to users‘ needs
in a rapidly evolving patent landscape. The growing recognition of the benefits
of oral proceedings by VICO was also underlined.

Furthermore, users heard how the global pandemic has thrown into sharp
relief the patent
system’s broader role of encouraging investment in research and development
that help achieve major scientific and technological breakthroughs, including
those required to fight infections such as COVID-19. The panel
discussion on innovation in the race against the pandemic was joined by the
father of modern-day vaccines Rino Rappuoli, who received the 2017
European Inventor Award in the category of Lifetime Achievement. EPO experts also
presented the EPO platform Fighting coronavirus, which offers scientists and decision makers
support in their pursuit of solutions to combat the virus by helping them
identify the most important documents and innovations in the relevant technical
fields.

Among the panellists discussing the Patent
Index 2020
and the future of innovation were EPO Chief
Economist Yann Ménière and Head of Governance and Coordination at the European
Innovation Council Keith Sequeira. Here, users gained unique insights into the
current importance of innovation in healthcare and digital technologies. The optimistic
outlook with which the discussion concluded was maintained in the closing panel
discussion on how the EPO’s fostering of innovation, both internally and
externally, contributes to the United Nations‘ Sustainable Development Goals.


Europäisches Patentamt

Eine Mitteilung des Europäischen Patentamts