| Europäisches Patentamt

High-level online meetings enhance user engagement at the EPO

Cosmonautics study

As part of the EPO’s continuous
dialogue with users and user associations across all sectors, the latest in a
series of high-level meetings with top applicants, small and medium sized
enterprises (SMEs) and high-growth firms (HGFs) took place online on Wednesday
21 July. To date, ten meetings have taken place with key applicants from Asia,
Europe and the US, including four of the top ten applicants at the EPO and
three SMEs. Several of the
meetings were hosted by EPO President António Campinos and further meetings
are planned in the course of the year, including with user associations.

Strengthening dialogue with

The meetings contribute
significantly to our wide-ranging user engagement activities and allow the EPO to
share directly with applicants the most recent developments at the Office,
including those resulting from progress made with implementing our Strategic

At the same time, the meetings
provide an opportunity to gather feedback on the quality of EPO products and
services from the architects of IP strategy at some of the world’s largest and
fastest growing companies. This enables a better understanding of where the
Office is meeting users‘ needs and where there is still room for improvement.

Discussions on the quality of EPO
products and services have covered the use of VICO, arising from the pandemic, and
improvements in timeliness and the accelerated prosecution of patent
applications under the PACE programme. Opportunities for interacting directly
and regularly with examiners were cited as highly valuable by users.

Simplifying processes,
increasing transparency

The need to simplify and
harmonise processes at the EPO, where possible, was emphasised. As an example,
the transfer of rights was mentioned, as well as harmonisation within the area
of timeliness. The EPO responded that a lot is in the pipeline from our
Strategic Plan 2023, and will soon become available to the user community. In
terms of transparency in the area of quality, the EPO highlighted the newly
published „Quality Report 2020“, which is part of the EPO’s Annual Review.

Finally, applicants expressed an
interest in technical follow-up meetings as well as holding high-level meetings
on an annual basis. The meetings, which are set to take place frequently with
applicants from all sectors, supplement the Office’s comprehensive outreach
programme, which includes further regular exchanges with user groups such as
epi, Business Europe, SACEPO and AIPPI, among others. The widespread use of
online meeting platforms and tools has allowed the EPO to increase its dialogue
with its stakeholders, and the Office will explore how to capitalise on the
advantages of hybrid meeting environments further as it heads towards a new