The European Patent Office (EPO) is an inter-governmental organization whose principal line of business is to grant European patents for technical inventions. These patents may cover up to 40 European countries, among them all EU member states. Since processing its first patent application in 1978, the EPO has published more than a million applications and presently publishes new patents at a rate of 2,000 per week—and the volume is growing.
Since 2002, the EPO has been developing and deploying the rebuild of EPO’s Query Service, co-developed by the EPO and Empolis, used daily around the globe by over 6,500 patent examiners in the EPO, the national patent offices of its member states and a number of non-member states such as Canada, China and Brazil, as well as by 25,000 public users querying the EPO’s free internet service espacenet. Accordingly, more than 60% of the worldwide patent applications are examined using the “EPOQUE-Net” solution, which delivers online answers within 300 msecs in average for queries and images, and powerful process support to a large number of simultaneous users searching and comparing large volumes of data – 5 terabytes of text and 28 terabytes of graphics!
Benefits to the EPO: Significantly greater accuracy in the delivered results in patent searches, due to the introduction of logical databases.