Patenting digital technologies at the EPO

In recent years, we have seen a
constellation of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud
computing, big data gain momentum quickly and now it’s the time where
these technologies are pervading all sectors or all industries. Everybody has to be ready for that and as a patent office we are prepared. The EPO’s patent data collection provides a window on the latest trends in innovation and that
makes it possible to identify fast growing sectors, as well as entirely new
sectors that are currently emerging. Over the last seven years, there was a 330 percent increase in the area of self-driving vehicles but the most striking result is that half of these top applicants do not come from
the car industry. They are companies related to the ICT field telecommunications, software semiconductors and they are now evolving the same space as established car manufacturers. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a convergence of technologies. Smart networked devices fitted with sensors are now found everywhere. Combined with artificial intelligence and used in production they fuel the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Computer implemented inventions are
absolutely everywhere. Not only in hardware and in telecommunications but also in transportation, manufacturing, energy, healthcare. Everywhere. Despite the seven-fold increase during
the last four years in blockchain based patent filing, we are well-prepared. Our rules and procedures are a strong platform. The EPO has a well-established
and consistent case law. We apply it with well-trained staff in multidisciplinary
examining divisions. There are exciting changes ahead for our users and the EPO is ready for them.

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