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Following the implementation of a Quality Management System in 2005, data monitoring tasks, corrections and improvements continued successfully in 2007. The Global Patent Data Coverage (GPDC) report was published twice on the Internet in January and July. 2007 also saw the launch of the Non-Patent Data Coverage system (NPDC), aimed at systematically monitoring the timeliness and completeness of non-patent data.

Patent Applications:

In 2007 the EPO published 130 450 patent applications broken down according to the 31 Technical units of the International Patent Classification as shown in Table 1 attached.

Since the opening, the EPO published the following number of patent applications (see Table 2 attached).

Granted Patents:

In 2007, the EPO granted 54 699 patents.
Since the opening, the EPO has granted the following number of patents (see Table 3 attached).

Publication services:

1. European publications API

Synergies between ESPACE products, the European Publication Server, and other Patent Information procedures have been identified and solutions bundled together into a common "European Publications API" with the twin objectives of cost control and quality enhancement.

This Java based API offers a wide range of commonly used functionality and is heavily based upon open source frameworks such as those available from the Apache foundation (

In accordance with common industry practice, the European Publications API is aimed at programmers who need to design and build data processing systems. The EPO's user friendly GUI is called JTASK, and is used by operators that do not necessarily have a knowledge of the Java programming language to call sequences of API functions (i.e. a processing chain). Naturally, a JAVA expert could access the API functions directly without recourse to JTASK or by using an alternate GUI. In 2007 the JTASK console application was further enhanced to better manage the use of European Publications API features with better reporting and quality control features.

2. European Publication Server

The European Publication Server became operational on 1 January 2005 and - in line with the decision of the President of the Office dated 22 December 2004 - has been the official medium for publication of all kinds of European patent documents since 1 April 2005.

An intuitive interface allows users to view and download the documents from the date of publication across a secure connection on the internet. All the different types of documents (A1/A2/A3/B1/B2/B3 and corresponding correction documents A8/A9/B8/B9) can be accessed via their application numbers, publication numbers, IPC classification symbols and the dates of publication.

Users can download documents published since 1 April 2005 in both PDF and SGML (2005) / XML (2006) formats. When included, documents published before 1 April 2005 are made available in the best available format(s).

Access to the European Publication Server across the internet is free of charge at:

The European Publication Server is an up-to-date way of publishing the increasing number of European patent documents and - by offering the publications free of charge - is an important contribution to the "knowledge-based society" in Europe.

Improvements of the system in 2007 included various optimisations to enhance the search performance, and efforts to facilitate better indexing by web based search engines.

3. ESPACE Series and MIMOSA Software System


In the framework of the EP backfile data, converting to a unique standard format (XML and PDF) for loading onto the Publication server, the EPO analysed the completeness of the collection of published European patent documents. The result will be used to identify and close gaps.

The adaptations necessary to implement the EPC 2000 were completed on time in the production chain and the user interface for ESPACE EP.


The EPC 2000 had a big impact on the ESPACE series through the introduction of new document kinds e.g. B3 or INID Codes (27). The necessary adaptation had to be made on the basis of dummy data provided by the responsible EPO services. Nevertheless no major problem occurred when the first real cases were published.


Phase one of the ESPACE LEGAL rebuild will be completed with the production of volume 2008/001 in May 2008. The goal of the rebuild is to make the legal texts available in HTML or PDF format, searchable with the powerful MIMOSA user interface while allowing users to browse and read texts on the screen as one would read and browse through a real book.

At the same time, data loading and extraction routines are being developed so that data extracted from the new EPO content management system could be used as input for ESPACE LEGAL production to ensure that exactly the same data is published on ESAPCE LEGAL as on the EPO internet/intranet .


MIMOSA Authoring

With the introduction of XML as a new standard in filing, processing and publishing patent documents, the EPO upgraded its ESPACE production lines to GTI V5 as a new search engine and MIMOSA 5 as a new user interface because only this combination could handle publications in both the old SGML and the new XML format.

This new enhanced Mimosa software system also allowed online distribution of ESPACE series with very little extra effort. It just required an Internet Access Control module (IAC) in the user interface for controlled, secure access to the online databases and a server module to make the ESPACE series accessible in an internet/intranet environment through a simple access control mechanism with one common user ID and password for all subscribers to one series.

In order to handle the huge number of patent documents published by the EPO since its opening in 1977, the next step towards upgrading the publication system was taken in the middle of 2007 with the upgrade of the database engine to GTI V6, which is capable of handling up to 100 million bibliographic records, including abstracts of more than 7 000 000 full text searchable documents, thus easily covering all European patent documents published.

The JTASK graphical user interface (used to configure most of the production steps in an ESPACE production chain) has been further enhanced by a "Patent Writer" module allowing for correction of incomplete or wrong input data. Non Patent Literature can even be added with a set of minimum bibliographic data to any chosen ESPACE collection. A statistics/reporting module summarising the results of all production steps in an easy to understand structure and standard document format was also added.

Planning has not yet begun for a graphical user interface for the most complex production step, the indexing.

MIMOSA Application Software

Recent versions of the widely used Windows operating system made installation use of the MIMOSA Application software difficult and cumbersome. Under Windows Vista, many of the operations performed when searching patent data with MIMOSA required administrator rights which is not feasible in an office environment with a strict security policy. Therefore, the application software had to be modified to no longer require administrator rights for installation and normal use. As an additional benefit, it is now even possible to run the MIMOSA application software without prior installation so that it can be launched directly from a data carrier such as a CD-/DVD-ROM or a USB device.

In the context of on-line use, it is possible to download the self-contained application software to the user's workstation and run it without installation. Further enhancements in the usability of the MIMOSA application software can also be envisaged which, on the basis of new web programming techniques, will make the user initiated download of the application software superfluous.

5. Under Development

In order to complete the data available in the ESPACE series, MIMOSA already provides links to other EPO online services e.g. Register plus and esp@cenet. These links were enhanced so that MIMOSA could make use of the OPS interface to retrieve additional data elements offered in version 2.

The enhanced indexing capacity of GTI 6 together with new standard data services (DOCDB XML) helped to reactivate the old project of a Global database searchable under MIMOSA which had to be put on hold because of unsolvable data delivery and data preparation problems. A proof of concept based on an amended project specification, and taking the most recent improvements in the MIMOSA software and other EPO data exchange and online services into account, was successfully completed at the end of 2007.


(New) techniques used for the generation of patent information (printing, recording, photocomposing, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), etc.)