Public Release: 

EPO expects dynamic increase in patent filings in Europe

ISC-Intelligence in Science

Salzburg, 24 November 2004.The third European Patent Office's epoline® Annual Conference has taken place in Salzburg on 23 and 24 November 2004. This year's conference, which was attended by 380 delegates from a large number of European countries, focused on the role of patents in the innovation process in Europe, and the support the EPO's electronic business platform epoline® can provide to that process. Another aspect was the dynamic development of a patent system in Europe - both in terms of increasing the number of patent applications and the accession of new member states to the European Patent Convention. The delegates also discussed patent protection in the area of information technology.

The President of the European Patent Office, Mr. Alain Pompidou, highlighted the dynamic growth of the European patent system saying that this year the European Patent Office expects a record number of nearly 180,000 patent applications. He said that in order to manage the flow from technological knowledge to innovation and from innovation to the market place, the EPO had to develop high-quality business tools. epoline®, the EPO's digital business interface, facilitates the innovation process by providing a single access point for applicants and the public to the patent system. In 2004, 16% of all European patent applications were filed via the Internet, compared to 10% in 2003.

epoline® offers a secure on-line patent filing system and high quality electronic management tools fulfilling the needs of businesses in the knowledge-based economy. At this year's conference, EPO presented an improved website and enhanced business tools for epoline®. Moreover, the newly introduced enhanced patent register further improves information made available by adding details on the legal status of filed patents.

Supporting European enterprises and, consequently, the innovation process in the European Union, EPO contributes to the realization of the Lisbon Agenda, establishing the goal for the European Union to become knowledge-based and the most competitive economy in the world by 2010.


Media Contact: Marta Czerniawska
Park Leopold
Rue Wiertz, 50/28
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: 32-2-401-6147
Fax: 32-2-401-6868

For further information about the third epoline® Annual Conference, please contact:
Marion Lemercier
European Patent Office
2280 HV Rijswijk (ZH)
The Netherlands
Tel.: 31-70-340-3588
Fax: 31-70-340-4237

Editor's note:
EPO: The European Patent Office grants European patents for the contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC), which was signed in Munich on 5 October 1973 and entered into force on 7 October 1977. It is the executive body of the European Patent Organisation, an intergovernmental body set up under the EPC, whose members are the EPC contracting states. The activities of the EPO are supervised by the Organisation's Administrative Council, composed of delegates from these states. See

epoline®: is the brand name given to a number of electronic products and services developed by the EPO for the users of the European patent system. These products and services provide a secure, integrated environment for electronic communication between the EPO, applicants, their representatives and the national patent offices of the contracting states. Most significantly, epoline® services provide for on-line filing, fee payment and management of deposit accounts, file inspection, and register enquiries. They offer major advantages over traditional, paper-based transactions in that they provide instant feedback in the form of status information and immediate confirmation of communications to the Office while reducing clerical work and paper handling costs. Online file inspection and the European register of patents are important tools for the interested public and have been designed to increase the visibility of the patenting process in general and the transparency of the European patent grant procedure. See

esp@cenet®: is the European Patent Organisation's worldwide free patent information service on the Internet. It provides users with a readily accessible source of published patent information. It also aims to improve patent awareness among the public at all levels, in particular also among small and medium-sized enterprises. Moreover, as well as offering documents published by the EPO, this service gives access to patent documents published by patent offices around the world. Specifically, esp@cenet® offers access to large parts of the documentation available to EPO examiners, including recent patent applications published by the member states, European patent applications and PCT pamphlets published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. See

EPO Member States: The following states are currently members of the European Patent Organisation: Austria; Belgium; Republic of Bulgaria; Switzerland; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Germany; Denmark, Estonia; Spain; Finland; France; United Kingdom; Hellenic Republic; Hungary; Ireland; Iceland; Italy; Liechtenstein; Luxembourg; Monaco; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Sweden; Slovenia; Slovak Republic and Turkey.

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