The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office unanimously adopted the EPO’s Strategic Plan 2023 during the AC meeting earlier this week in Munich.
According to an announcement published on the EPO website today, president António Campinos said: ‘This Strategic Plan is a clear vision of how we want our Office to look in the future, and how we plan to achieve it. (…) What we have now is a roadmap for achieving a more sustainable patent office for Europe, better equipped to succeed in an evolving IP landscape. We intend to be a more adaptable and agile organisation that can support inventors everywhere with improved and more responsive services (…).’
As is explained in the announcement, the ‘Strategic Plan identifies five main areas:
- Build an engaged, knowledgeable and collaborative organisation:SP2023 looks at several areas that may help staff to realise their full professional potential and also at ways of identifying, recruiting and retaining talent
- Simplify and modernise EPO IT systems:the plan looks at ways of simplifying and modernising the EPO’s IT system. They include a single tool to support an end-to-end electronic patent granting process and further investment in prior art databases, with a special focus on Asian documentation and standards.
- Deliver high-quality products and services efficiently:these initiatives are aimed at guaranteeing the high standard of EPO products and services and include a user-agreed definition of quality, as well as a more flexible patent granting process.
- Build a European patent system and network with a global impact: co-operation with the national patent offices (NPOs) of member states and international partners will be strengthened. The EPO will review the financial and operational support that it offers to encourage greater participation, ensure cost-efficient and timely delivery and maximise the impact of co-operation activities.
- Secure long-term sustainability: the plan outlines initiatives that will ensure the EPO’s financial and environmental sustainability. The EPO intends to create an Observatory, a platform for discussion with public and private stakeholders and analysis. It will also set clear objectives for reducing its carbon footprint, lowering energy and paper consumption and eliminating plastics.’
Memorandum of Understanding with Boards of Appeal
Also in Munich, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Campinos and Carl Josefsson, president of the Boards of Appeal, to support the BoA’s organisational autonomy and deal, as was explained in a message ‘with practical issues that have arisen since the structural reform of the BoA in June 2016.’
‘The Office will facilitate the access of the BoA Unit to its legal, financial and administrative services (…). The agreement also provides for a number of measures that are intended to support the BoA in the preparatory process of the budget.
In addition to these measures, the MoU contains specific provisions that more clearly define the powers allocated to the President of the Boards of Appeal as site manager and in exercising disciplinary powers. The roles of both parties are also more clearly defined on issues such as external communication, policy consultation, and a mechanism to resolve disagreements.’
Reportedly, part of the AC meeting 26 and 27 June 2019 in Munich was dedicated to a discussion of the Staff Engagement Survey carried out by Willis Towers Watson, which was very negative for the EPO management. The communiqué of the AC meeting hasn’t yet been published. That will probably happen soon here.