As reported in a recent article, the EPO has seen performance gains in 2015, with the number of grants having increased by some 6% compared to the previous year. A closer look at the official EPO statistics of 2015 reveals more details.
As in previous years, filing activity was particularly strong in the fields of computer technology and digital communication, electrical machinery and medical technology.
Applicants active in non-chemical fields dominate the top 10 lists of patentees. The list is headed by Bosch, followed by Ericsson, Siemens, Samsung, LG, General Electric, Philips, BASF, Huawei and Panasonic.
Some 47% of the 160,000 applications received originated from EPO contracting states, with the USA coming in second at 27%, and Japan third at 13%. China and South Korea account for 4% each. The number of applications from China has shown a remarkable growth rate of 12.6% compared to 2014.
The number of inter partes oppositions decided increased by 17.6% to 3,713. In 31% of the decisions in opposition, the patent was maintained as granted. The percentage of patents revoked in opposition was also 31%. In the remaining 38% of the cases, the patent was maintained in amended form. The proportion of patents opposed was 4.4%.
The performance of the Boards of Appeal shows a steady state as regards the number of technical appeal cases decided. Some 2,387 technical appeals were received, of which 1,523 were opposition appeals and the remaining 864 were examination appeals.
The EPO's throughput time of oppositions and appeals remains a concern to many, and improvements would presumably be welcomed by most opponents and their patent attorneys.
|Jakob Pade Frederiksen|
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