FICPI’s representative at the SACEPO e-Patent Process meeting in February reports on key developments.

FICPI was invited by the European Patent Office to attend the 5th SACEPO EPP (e-Patent Process) meeting, which was held in Rijswijk in the Netherlands on 5 February 2020.

SACEPO EPP meetings  usually take place once per year at the EPO to discuss issues, improvements and new proposals mainly relating to electronic filings and the relevant procedures at the EPO. General information relating to the EPO services may also be given.

The February meeting was attended by around 30 participants, including EPO officers and representatives from the private practice, the industry and international organisations. FICPI was represented by Antonio Pizzoli, chair of FICPI’s Study & Work Committee on European Patents (CET Group 4).

Key announcements

During the meeting, the EPO announced new electronic tools which will improve the communication to/from the users, as part of its Strategic Plan. These tools will include a new website, an integrated filing/communication system, as well as a new centralised fee payment service.

The admissibility and handling of colour drawings was discussed and the recent improvements to the Espacenet and Register websites were also presented.

FICPI’s view and involvement 

FICPI welcomed the EPO  initiatives and took the opportunity to propose that the new system should allow applicants and their representatives to receive email notifications when an official communication is sent by the EPO, and XML versions of the application texts if amended by the examiners (e.g. the text proposed for grant or Druckexemplar).

By attending the EPP meetings, FICPI is able to represent its members’ views directly and to be privy to details which are not disclosed to the public at large.

Next steps