Strategic Plan 2023

Goal 2: Simplify and modernise EPO IT systems

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To read the full EPO Strategic Plan 2023, please download the PDF on the left hand side of this page. We have made every effort to optimise this publication for screen reading and encourage you to refrain from printing it out for environmental reasons.

The EPO will work towards a digital transformation, incorporating tools that will encourage engagement and streamline processes, from both staff and user perspectives.

Key initiatives

1. Implement a patent tool to support an end-to-end electronic patent granting process through a modular and scalable approach

The EPO intends to invest in a digital transformation that will benefit staff, users and stakeholders. A single tool that supports the complete end-to-end electronic patent grant process will form a central part of this transformation, offering an integrated approach from patent filing to appeals and post-grant procedures.

2. Improve existing EPO tools and manage high-quality
prior-art libraries

The implementation of the end-to-end electronic patent tool (Key Initiative 1) is expected to extend beyond the timescale of this Strategic Plan. However, there is a need for advancement in the existing tools used by the Office. This Key Initiative groups a series of improvements that will contribute to higher quality, productivity, as well as staff and user satisfaction.

3. Develop new online user engagement

The EPO's website and online tools will be developed further to better address the needs of users, including non-specialist audiences.

4. Implement common tools together with other IP offices

As the EPO embarks on a programme of digital transformation, it will also consider building and implementing common tools together with other IP offices. Through collaboration with members of the European Patent Network (EPN), the Office will assess potential ways of co-operating on search, front and back-office tools to offer support in areas of common interest.

5. Continue to digitalise and modernise Corporate Services, including HR, Finance, General Administration and document management

Corporate services spanning the entire Office will be digitalised and best practice processes will be implemented. Digitalised tools can help to reduce the administrative workload and bring greater transparency to processes in corporate areas such finance, HR and facility management.

6. Build an innovation ecosystem

For almost two decades, EPO examiners have been developing their own tools with an open-source and collaborative approach. To tap into their knowledge and creative potential, the Office will build an innovation ecosystem that allows EPO staff to provide solutions for all stages of the patent grant customer journey.

7. Build an IT vendor management function and revise the IT
sourcing policy

The EPO will strive towards proactive vendor management to monitor and improve service provider performance and ensure value delivery. Under this initiative, the Office will also review where to invest in in-house skills (see Goal 1) – which are critical to the Office - and the move to the outsourcing of only non-core tasks to IT subcontractors.

8. Increase the agility, reliability and security of EPO systems

To ensure that the EPO is able to undergo a successful digital transformation, a technical infrastructure needs to be put in place. This infrastructure will be secure as well as provide the level of agility and reliability needed to develop a new end-to-end tool for the patent granting process, improve existing tools and support corporate services.

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