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ICIC 2014 How the European Patent Office Uses Asian Documentation


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This presentation considers the explosion in the Asian documentation (with key facts and figures) and the challenges that this generates in the IP World. It also details how the EPO is proactively adapting to keep ahead of these challenges. The main areas of focus are:

identifying the major areas for investigation
acquiring the various types of Asian documentation
developing state of the art tools to efficiently search in the Asian documentation
work done on various translation possibilities • accessing the work done by the various patent offices
training examiners and keeping their knowledge bang up to date

It culminates with facts and figures which show how the EPO has progressed in bringing the Asian documentation into the daily search and examination work of examiners.

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ICIC 2014 How the European Patent Office Uses Asian Documentation

  1. 1. Asian Documentation Key facts and Figures December 2013
  2. 2. Index 1.Asian Filings 2.EPO actively focusing on Asian prior art 3.Comprehensive Asian documentation coverage 4.Classification schemes 5.State of the art search tools 6.Fit-for purpose translation tools 7.Access to the work done by the Asian offices 8.Dedicated training and support 9.Comprehensive prior art search 10.EPO committed to maintaining top quality
  3. 3. In 2013: More than 1.4 million patent applications were filed in China, Japan and Korea Asian filings While the number of domestic patent applications in China has surged in the last decade, the number of these having a family member in an official EPO language has fallen from 60% in 2001 to less than 30% in 2011
  4. 4. Asian filings (2/2) Source: PDQM Sharp decrease of Chinese publications with a family member in EN, DE or FR
  5. 5. EPO actively focusing on Asian prior art •Considering the rapid increase in Asian prior art, the EPO has been working on numerous developments: –Data acquisition –Classification –Search and documentation tools –Translation options –Access to the work done by the Asian Offices –Examiner training
  6. 6. Comprehensive Asian documentation coverage (1/4) •Almost 100% coverage of bibliographic and image patent data for the major Asian countries •Coverage similarly comprehensive for English- language abstracts (China: patents and utility models; Japan and Korea: patents only) Origin Number of documents Time coverage China 8.6 million complete from 1985 Japan 22.5 million from 1931 (complete from ca. 1970) Korea 4.4 million complete from ca. 1978
  7. 7. Comprehensive Asian documentation coverage (2/4) •In English full text (description and claims) bulk translated –Chinese patent publications and utility models •6.0 million documents from 1985-2012 –Japanese patent publications •7.3 million documents from 1998 onwards –Korean patent publications •1.3 million documents from 2008 onwards
  8. 8. Comprehensive Asian documentation coverage (3/4) •Integrated access to the world's largest citation database •Japan –4.1 million citing JP publications –13.5 million cited patents •Korea –0.5 million citing KR publications –1.4 million cited patents •China –0.9 million citing CN publications
  9. 9. Comprehensive Asian documentation coverage (4/4) •Access to Asian Non Patent Literature (NPL) is being enhanced –Agreement between EPO and East View enables examiners to download Chinese NPL from CNKI –CNKI includes more than 25 million articles •Asian NPL is now a priority of the EPO which is currently assessing the various Asian NPL portals.
  10. 10. Breakdown of documentation coverage per technical area •Few areas are now immune from the influx of Asian documentation •Can be accessed field by field •Shows the make up of documentation in each technical field •Shows the historical evolution over time •Limiting to CPC (EC) can cut out many documents
  11. 11. EC/CPC Classification or only IC
  12. 12. Classified in IC - Country of origin
  13. 13. Historical Evolution of the Documents in the Field
  14. 14. Classification schemes •Classification schemes used by EPO examiners: –Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) –International Patent Classification (IPC) –FI / F-term system from Japan >> SIPO and KIPO have agreed to classify in CPC, facilitating the access to Korean and Chinese documentation
  15. 15. State of the art search tools (1/2) Integrated Full text search •Classes •Free query •Keywords •Selection of databases
  16. 16. State of the art search tools (2/2) • Viewing documents retrieved by family • Direct access to various translation possibilities • Direct access to the file wrapper of the Asian Offices
  17. 17. Fit-for-purpose translation tools (1/2) •Machine translation •Human assisted machine translation •Machine translation manually corrected for CN, JP, KR, RU and TW documents •Available in 2/3 days •Translations done by the Asian Patent Expert Group •For short passages only •Examiner experts in Chinese, Japanese and Korean •Full human translation (Legal translation)
  18. 18. Fit-for-purpose translation tools (2/2) Examiners select the translation which best fits intended purpose
  19. 19. Access to the work done by the Asian offices (1/3) •Art. 124, Rule 141 EPC: Prior art information –Applicants are requested to provide the results of any search on corresponding national or regional applications •Citations extracted from patent publications •Citations provided on a monthly basis by various offices (JP and KR) –Preparations developed to automatically retrieve cited documents by other patent offices
  20. 20. Access to the work done by the Asian offices (2/3) •Direct Access to File wrappers of JPO, KIPO and SIPO via DI+ •Machine translated communications
  21. 21. Access to the work done by the Asian offices (3/3) Common citation Document
  22. 22. Dedicated training and support (1/3) •Asian Patent Expert Group (APEG) –Network of representatives in each technical field •Disseminates information on Asian matters •Trains examiners –Language expert groups •Assist examiners with Chinese, Japanese and Korean documents
  23. 23. Dedicated training and support (2/3) •Asia Event with presentations on: –Asian translations, various options for various needs –Accessing the work done by JPO, KIPO, and SIPO –Asian patent information: EPO database content –Asian Non-Patent Literature •Mandatory training for all examiners on Asian documentation –Latest trend in Asian filings •General view •Technical field-specific view (preparation doctrends) –Latest tool development
  24. 24. Dedicated training and support (3/3) Practical Guidelines on Asian documentation distributed to all examiners •Deferred examination: –JPO: 3 years –KIPO: 5 years –SIPO: 3 years JPO KIPO SIPO Clarity Art. 36(6) Art. 42(4) Art. 26 Novelty Art. 29(1) Art. 29(1) Art. 22(1) Inventive Step Art. 29(2) Art. 29(2) Art. 22(2)
  25. 25. Comprehensive prior art search (1/3) Asia Event 2 hour training Guidelines on Asian documentation The consultation of Asian documents by EPO examiners is increasing rapidly
  26. 26. Comprehensive prior art search (2/3) 21% of the patents cited in EPO search reports in 2013 had an Asian priority
  27. 27. Comprehensive prior art search (3/3) 2013 compared to 2012 - almost 30% increase in patent citations with a Chinese priority - almost 20% increase in patent citations with a Korean priority
  28. 28. Committed to maintaining quality •Documentation, tools, translation options, training and knowledge of Asian documentation is revolutionising the work of examiners •The EPO will continue to improve its documentation coverage as it grows and continue to develop tools for efficiently searching, retrieving and assessing the Asian documentation •The EPO comprehensively addresses the challenges posed by the rapid explosion in Asian documentation