Monday, July 6, 2015

Use the EPO to find out earlier what you have

Recently, the quality of patents issued by the EPO was rated excellent or very good by 62% of private practice patent attorneys and lawyers who use them, compared to less than 35% for the other major patent offices.

One of the reasons patent professionals rate the EPO so highly is the quality of their search and examination.

Their databases far exceed the PCT minimum documentation set, searching in many full-text patent applications, English abstracts of foreign patent applications and non-patent literature databases.

They also use state-of-the-art tools to search, and the search quality is the same whether it is a European direct filing or a PCT application.

So applicants get a very good idea what their application is worth at an early stage, before decisions on subsequent filings or national entries need to be made.

The EPO has an open system, so anyone world-wide can file a European patent application directly and request a search.

It is also possible for anyone world-wide to get an EPO search under PCT early in the international phase, by either:
  • specifying the EPO to be the ISA (where permitted by the Receiving Office), or
  • requesting a Supplementary International Search (SIS) at the EPO, or
  • by using an Applicant-Of-Convenience when filing 
The EPO has also greatly improved its examination under PCT, providing a higher chance of a positive International Preliminary Report on Patentability before national entry is due.

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