One of the main directives in the automation of EAPO is the implementation of the administration and information system. The Common Software project (Regional Intellectual Property Protection program - RIPP) is a technical aid program to the benefit of Central and Eastern European countries, financed by the European Union under the PHARE program. RIPP was adopted by the Executive Committee of the PHARE program on July 30, 1992. The European Patent Office (EPO) is implementing this program, with the Agreeing Party of this project acting as the Responsible Executor. The development of the first version of Common Software was completed in September of 1995. EPO regularly supplies patent offices with new versions and updates of RIPP.
With the assistance of EPO such systems were implemented and are now successfully used in the patent offices of several countries (Romania, Malaysia, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and others) as part of the Common Software (CS) project.
EPO proposed to implement in EAPO, under the terms of an agreement on technical collaboration, an automated information system for document processing to become part of EAPO's general integrated information system, and since January of 1996 the work is under way to implement this automated integrated information system for document processing (AIS) in EAPO.
The list of issues that are specific to EAPO was agreed on and detailed at a tri-lateral meetings of EPO, EAPO, and the firm Jouve (the official contractor of EPO).
The project, including staff training, the purchase, setup and installation of computer equipment and licensed software, organization of meetings, holding a tender, adapting the software according to the normative acts of EAPO and so on, was financed with the support of the European Union under the TACIS and IKON programs, and with EPO's own resources.
The International Technical Cooperation Department of the European Patent Office coordinated the performance of all work under this project.
AIS was put into service on December 1, 1999. The Procedure Automation Department of EAPO regularly updates the system.
AIS makes monitoring of the progress of a Eurasian application significantly easier, enabling the management of EAPO to make decisions on each application without time delay and thus greatly improving the quality of the examiners' work.
The System is designed to service all types of Eurasian applications, i.e. applications filed by the citizens of the Contracting states, applications filed directly with EAPO, and the PCT applications.
All the information received is stored in the electronic form and controlled by a relational database management system INFORMIX. Information on patent owners, applicants, and patent attorneys, plus licenses, appeals, correspondence, technical statuses of Eurasian applications, and invoices, are all stored in this database.
The implementation of AIS simplified registering all types of fee payments (for applications, publications, granting of patents, services, etc.), recording and monitoring license agreements, correcting and modifying data, extending deadlines for applicants and examiners, maintaining Eurasian patents, and tracking the assignment and transfer of rights for patents and application. The following capabilities are available: user-oriented tools (to monitor the timely receipt of correspondence, documents and fees), multi-functional search of patent documents by bibliographic information, automatic updates of statistical information, extraction of data for the publication of the official bulletin, and extraction of data for the invoice systems. Internal administration functions include user management, setting parameters, choice of CS of each country, and system administration.
Every day AIS provides the management of EAPO with up-to-date information on Eurasian patents and applications, and analytical information that enables weak spots or problems to be quickly identified and proactively solved.