Should applicants now avoid the EPO?


Jacqueline Needle

Should applicants now avoid the EPO?

Many patent applicants think that the EPO has become a patent-refusing organisation, and the Unitary Patent Court proposal is not helping, as Jacqueline Needle explains.

On June 1, 1978, the European Patent Office (EPO) received its first European patent applications. It was a soft start: only applications relating to specific subject matter could be filed and processed. Furthermore, industry throughout the world was understandably cautious about the expertise and efficiency of this new organisation, whose fees were substantial.

The number of filings began to rise steadily. There were 3,598 in the first half year, 11,284 in its first full year, and 18,596 new applications in 1980. 1988 was the first year in which more than 50,000 applications were filed and also the year in which the total number of cases which had been granted reached 100,000.

European patent applications filed

EPO, Unitary Patent Court, patent filing