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13 November 2017

New opportunities for patent information offered by technology trends were
the focus of the 27th Patent Information Conference that took place last week in Sofia, Bulgaria. In the presence of the Bulgarian Deputy Minister for
the Economy, Lachezar Borosov, EPO Vice-President Raimund Lutz outlined in his
opening speech the key role of patent information services in the promotion of

BPO Vice-President David Sukalinski, EPO Vice-President Raimund Lutz, BPO Vice-President Ofelia Kirkoryan-Tsonkova, BPO President Petko Nikolov, Bulgarian Deputy Minister for the Economy Lachezar Borosov (from left to right)

The conference was attended by some 350 participants coming from 45
countries. Those attending heard how the EPO is increasingly focusing on
usability to enable more users to search data efficiently and easily, while
ensuring the reliability and correctness of the data.

“Businesses are coming
to depend on reliable IP statistics for revealing the latest trends in
technology. Patent information and statistics can also help identify candidates
for emerging technologies that might become key players in the market, helping
to define business strategies,” Mr Lutz told the conference in his
opening speech. The EPO Vice-President also addressed the issue of freedom-to-operate
analyses with the help of patent information: “The EPO’s legal status databases
are indispensable for this type of search, and we are proud to be the world’s
no. 1 provider of legal status data.”

The high quality of the EPO’s data was highlighted by Google in their
presentation on the development of the neural machine translation engine. Over
the course of the last year the technology has been deployed in in the EPO’s free
machine translation tool Patent Translate to produce more accurate translations
than ever before. Participants also learnt about the developments taking place
in the EPO’s international cooperation projects which were helping to provide
more accessible and up to date patent information to the EPO’s users.

The EPO is the world’s leading provider of patent information and
continually adds new tools and services to its range of products, some in
co-operation with member states or international partners, such as the grouping
of the world’s five largest IP offices (IP5), the World Intellectual Property
Organization or the EU Intellectual Property Office. Through its commitment to
being a leading patent information provider, the Office now has some 100
million documents in its bibliographic collection from around 90 patent issuing

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