New Patent Information Policy Promises "Barrier-free" Access for All

EPO Vice President Curt Edfjäll outlined how the Office's new patent information policy will make patent documents more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises in a speech to the EPO Patent Information Conference this week.

He said that "ensuring barrier-free public access to the information contained in patent documents" is a "key element" of the new patent information policy, which was approved by the EPO's Administrative Council in June.

"I would like to see an emphasis on making patent data understandable, and on removing any remaining barriers that exist for those needing access to it," he told the conference.

The Vice President responsible for patent information at the EPO outlined five areas that the Office would focus on in the coming years:

1. supporting patent information activities in the member states,
2. providing industry with barrier-free access to the information contained in patent documents, including Asian documents,
3. facilitating high quality patent applications through better access to data,
4. the development of new tools for less experienced searchers, and
5. information and training activities

"The idea behind it is that we start removing some of the obstacles that currently hinder the best possible access to patent data for industry in Europe, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, universities and research centres, industry and bodies involved in filing patent applications, granting patents and disseminating patent information," Edfjäll said.