Earlier this week, European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli published a post to his President’s Blog entitled, “Patent information stays high on the agenda” in conjunction with his participation in the annual EPO Patent Information Conference held last week in Bologna, Italy. The EPO deserves a tremendous amount of credit for understanding the importance of patent information and devoting the resources necessary to host this conference, as well as several others during the year, in different locations around the world, showcasing the value associated with this data. President Battistelli summarized the Office’s feelings on this topic when he said in his post:
The EPO will continue to pursue three main goals: to build the best and most comprehensive patent databases; to lower the cost and language barriers on access to patent information; and to raise public awareness, in various spheres, of the importance of patent information, maximising the impact of these activities through studies and analyses that will feed into the public debates.
In addition to showcasing the importance of patent information to technical enterprise and public debate, President Battistelli went out of his way to comment on the value of patent information users groups, such as the Patent Information Users Group (PIUG), Confederacy of European Patent Information User Groups (CEPIUG) and Patent Documentation Group PDG as key stakeholders in the process of generating, disseminating and analyzing patent information. President Battistelli made the following comments on cooperation between the EPO and these groups:
My exchanges with representatives of user associations – in particular, the Patent Documentation Group and the Patent Information Users’ Group – were interesting and rewarding, and confirmed my perception of the need for high-quality, reliable data.
The further development of an efficient and reliable patent information system requires the participation of many actors, especially among user groups and patent offices. The EPO will continue to play a leading role in these efforts: for us, patent information remains a top priority.
President Battistelli should be commended for not only participating in the EPO Patent Information Conference, but for also taking the time to meet with representatives from a worldwide collection of patent information users groups, and getting their input on the products and services provided by the EPO.
While this is the most recent example of cooperation between the patent offices and patent information groups it is certainly not the only one. Earlier in October, during the 2013 International Conference on Trends for Scientific Information Professionals (ICIC – a report from which can be found here) for instance, Dr. Monica Hanelt of Agfa Graphics and Past-President of the PDG gave a presentation highlighting the importance of patent information groups, and provided several instances where the groups interacted directly with the world’s patent offices. In particular, Dr. Hanelt discussed the Global Legal Status Project, where the PDG approached the EPO and WIPO about creating a standard for the reporting and dissemination of patent legal status information. It is widely acknowledged that access to standardized, and frequently updated legal status data is a critical need of patent information professionals around the world. A link to Dr. Hanelt’s slides from SlideShare is provided:
A few years ago, the CEPIUG and the PIUG worked together with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the EPO in support of the new Cooperative Patent Classification system as well. This system has now been rolled out and it is quickly becoming a worldwide standard for the classification of patent documents. Details on the role that patent information users groups played in the development of this tool can be found in this blog post from the PIUG Chair dated November 16th, 2010 entitled “Our Role in History“. The post ends with the following statement, which sums up the importance of cooperation between user groups and patent offices.
This was a wonderful example of how PIUG can play a leadership role in the world of patent information, work with the world’s largest patent offices and collaborate with our sister organizations around the world to represent the worldwide community of patent information professionals. The Directive is a ground breaking historic agreement and will likely be an event we will look back on the years to come as a seminal event in the history of patent information. PIUG was a party to this history in the making and we should all be proud of the role we were asked to play in this event.
Hopefully, there will be many more instances of interactions between patent information users groups and the world’s patent offices. As key stakeholders patent information professionals can add tremendous value to the products and services provided by the offices as they meet their missions of sharing patent and technical content with the general public.