Transparency on quality of products and services: EPO publishes Quality Report 2018
The EPO today published its third Quality Report since 2016. The 2018 edition delves deeper into the patent grant process, describing the checks and safeguards that are in place at each phase of the procedure at the Office. It offers extensive data analyses at EPO sectors' level, looks at quality improvement measures taken by the Office, cites feedback provided by users and discusses the initiatives that are planned for the future.
While confirming users' growing appreciation of the quality of the products and services provided by the EPO, the report also acknowledges scope for improvement in certain areas.
"This report provides our users with a full picture of the way quality is evolving at the EPO and a common basis on which we can continue to move forwards", said President António Campinos. "Quality is at the heart of our new Strategic Plan and by working with our users and cooperating with all our stakeholders, we now have an opportunity to raise our quality to another level altogether."
In order to increase transparency and accountability on the quality of its work, the EPO intensified engagement with its user community during 2018. This approach, which is a declared objective under the new Strategic Plan, will continue in the years ahead and aims to help the Office and its stakeholders reach an agreed definition of quality, and to align perceptions on quality.
The 2018 Quality Report includes analyses of several areas of activity, including:
User satisfaction survey:
- The 2018 results showed further increases in user satisfaction. Some 84% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with EPO search services, 77% with examination and 74% with opposition. A slight decrease was reported in the area of formalities examination, although from a very high level (89% to 87%).
Computer Implemented Inventions (CII):
- CII continue to be an important focus with users. To ensure consistent treatment of such applications, a full revision of the CII content of the Guidelines was completed and an internal network of CII experts was established.
- The EPO improved its service to its stakeholders in 2018, and as the Office moves towards a steady state of timely high quality and efficient processing in the coming years, optimal procedural lengths for different applicants will become an increasingly important topic to discuss.
Product audits 2018
- The quality product audits showed room for improvement. While the results were maintained at a very high level for three of the four regular audits (search 94.6%; opposition 99%; classification 96%) a decrease of the compliance rate was measured in the auditing of grants (84.7% to 76.6%). These results have been carefully analysed, and a number of improvement actions are being taken.
The 2018 edition also sets out the EPO's revised Mission and Vision statements. Recently published in the Strategic Plan 2023, the new Mission and Vision will help steer the Office towards user-centric services based on co-operation.