EAPO Annual Report 2018

Development of Automation

As its core priorities in information technologies (IT) in 2018, the Eurasian Paten Office expanded the capacity and volume of its collaboration, via electronic means, with Eurasian patent system users, Eurasian patent attorneys and national IP Offices, to upgrade EAPO web resources, while also moving to embrace new data formats.

The Eurasian Patent Office automation and data management rely on integrated automated information systems (AIS) and information technologies (IT) running on latest software and hardware, comprising EAPO’s electronic information and communications infrastructure.

The Eurasian Patent Office has been upgrading and advancing its AIS and IT systems based on the EAPO Development Programme for 2017 – 2021 and requests from users of the Eurasian patent system. The objective was three-pronged:

  • automation and rollout of paperless workflow management of Eurasian applications and patents;
  • Building Eurasian patent information space;
  • Automation and information support of EAPO backend processes.

AUTOMATION AND ADVANCEMENT OF PAPERLESS TECHNOLOGY WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT OF EURASIAN APPLICATIONS AND PATENTS

Electronic Filing of Eurasian Applications and Electronic Document Exchange

Integrated with the other Eurasian Office automated information systems, EAPO-ONLINE, a system for electronic filing of applications and electronic exchange of documents, takes care of the two-way electronic communication with the applicants, patent owners and their representatives.

The Eurasian Patent Office has recorded an ever-growing inflow of electronic applications and electronic documents. In terms of numbers, 2018 saw 2,842 applications filed electronically with the Eurasian Office, or more than 81.5 per cent of total filings.

The year in review saw new functionality based on web services integrated into EAPO-ONLINE for electronic filing and exchange of
application-related documents. This new functionality provides direct communication with automated systems of the leading patent attorney firms.

The number of EAPO-ONLINE users entirely relying on electronic communication with the EAPO has tripled. By the end of 2018, as many as 21 Agreements on EAPO Correspondence Received in Electronic Form were in effect.

The number of applications for which documents were simultaneously filed in two formats, as scanned pages (PDF) and in character coded mode (DOCX), has risen dramatically (more than fourfold).

Table 1

Applications Filed Electronically

Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Applications filed electronically 2292 2308 2558 2683 2842
Per cent of total number 62 67 75 81 81,5

Applications filed electronically / Per cent of total number
Applications Filed Electronically
Table 2

Documents Filed Electronically

Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Documents filed electronically 42130 52213 62003 87996 94661
Per cent of total number 33,6 38,5 39,5 50,3 56,4

Applications filed electronically / Per cent of total number
Documents Filed Electronically

Electronic Workflow Management of Eurasian Applications and Patents

The Eurasian Patent Office relies on its procedure automation system (PAS) underlying electronic workflow management of Eurasian applications and patents. The corporate PAS includes automation (administrative information) system SOPRANO complete with additional modules and a toolkit for statistics running on SAP Business Object platform.

EAPO’s practical electronic workflow management also relies on an electronic dossier system running on ePHOENIX platform.

SOPRANO and ePHOENIX are deeply integrated with EAPO-ONLINE for electronic filing and electronic exchange.

All the modifications in the legal framework that underlies the Eurasian patent procedure are invariably captured in SOPRANO functionality. Thus, the reporting year saw a package of tools integrated into it to handle the data relating to the oppositions against the grant of patents, filed with the EAPO, and the results of their examination. An impressive amount of functionality was added and/or adjusted to track and monitor the payment of duties. Also, a comprehensive set of measures was put in place to improve the ergonomics of examiners’ work environment.

In the reported period the Eurasian Office continued to rely on electronic dossier system ePHOENIX for automatic saving and dispatching of outgoing mail for the Examination Department and the Eurasian Patents Register Department, with a new functionality for generating and processing procedure-based notifications having been rolled out. Amendments to the EAPO’s regulatory framework were developed to allow the use of electronic digital signatures in the process of generating outgoing mail, regardless of the means of its dispatch to recipients.

A lot of efforts have been invested into the development of an electronic interface for the communication with Rospatent’s Federal Institute of Industrial Property. This was done as part of the exchange of patent search data (dispatch of patent search requests, receipt of patent search reports, experts’ rulings and corresponding documents). As of December 2018, a test run has begun of a parallel system whereby the two agencies exchange documents both in hard copy and in electronic format.

Table 3

EAPO-Processed Documents

Documents Year
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Incoming documents 125561 136190 158531 174948 177708
including
digital versions
42193 52386 62688 87996 94661
as per cent of total number 33,6 38,5 39,5 50,3 56,4
Outgoing documents 46375 49549 59898 78580 79333
including
digital versions
8696 10650 16841 37596 43466
as per cent of total number 18,8 21,5 28,1 47,8 55

Electronic Publication of Eurasian Patent Documentation and EAPO Official Publications

The Patent Information and Automation Department saw its main objective for 2018 in issuing  EAPO publications, including all descriptions to front file applications and patents forwarded  on a timely basis, with a window of opportunity for fast-track publication.

The average size of complete full description of Eurasian patents increased markedly in the reported year, from 64 to 70 pages.

EAPO is now able to use the materials received earlier in character coded format, owing to the refinement and adjustment of the means relied upon for preparation of the descriptions for publication.

Based on the analysis of the incoming documents and the modalities of their use, a plan has been developed for the roll-out of a system whereby Eurasian applications will be filed and processed in character coded format. Such system is expected to be put in place in 2019 in technical cooperation with the major patent attorney firms.

Table 4

Totals of published Eurasian applications and patents

Year Applications (A1+A2) Search reports (A3) Patents (B1) Title page corrections (A8/B8) Full text corrections (A9/B9) Per cent of full text corrections
2014 3635 32 1600 32 29 0,6%
2015 3367 31 1757 28 26 0,5%
2016 3592 83 3081 45 43 0,6%
2017 3307 106 3282 47 83 1,3%
2018 3 005 137 2637 85 96 1,7%

The year under review saw the publication of the EAPO Annual Report for 2017 (2.5 author’s sheets) available on the web portal of the Eurasian Patent Organization.

Full descriptions of Eurasian applications and patents are available on the Eurasian publications server in PDF and as raw data in XML, TIFF and PDF, in the authorized access section.

HIVE, the system developed and maintained by the EAPO, is relied upon to do the groundwork for preparing descriptions for publication and data arrays used for the exchange of patent documentation.

Starting from 2018, all the Letters Patents have been passed onto patent holders without full descriptions attached to them. These full descriptions are available for free view on the Eurasian publications server of the EAPO web portal. All the Letters Patents conveniently carry a QR code for direct reference to the electronic publication of a relevant Eurasian patent.

Roll-out of the Cooperative Patent Classification Toolkit

The year 2018 saw a complete roll-out of the toolkit incorporating the Cooperative Patent Classification into the workflow for Eurasian applications and patents. This measure was the Eurasian Office’s obligation under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) on Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).

As part of this effort web services have been created to facilitate loading and extraction of CPC symbols in SOPRANO, and the principles have been established to govern the prioritization of CPC symbols obtained from different sources. SOPRANO had a new functionality added to it to validate CPC symbols and perform the conversion of IPC symbols into CPC symbols. HIVE, the system that takes care of publications, was equipped with a set of tools enabling the loading of CPC symbols for newly published Eurasian applications and patents, for the purposes of data sharing, as well as extraction of CPC data as for information exchange.

BUILDING EURASIAN PATENT INFORMATION SPACE

EAPO Web Portal Maintenance and Enhancement

The EAPO web portal is an electronic resource which provides the Eurasian Patent System users with timely updates on the Organization and Office performance, legal status of the Eurasian applications and patents, fees and rates, including online forms for their calculation and payment, as well as information on Eurasian patent attorneys.

The year under review saw a major upgrade of the web portal’s design and information structure, while a new model design has been developed for the online posting of EAPO’s official publications and news releases.

The EAPO web portal users benefited in the reported year from

  • timely updates on all Eurasian patent procedure changes;
  • timely published official announcements and highlights on current news and events;
  • switchover to a new server (data transfer, deployment, configuration and testing of the website);
  • toolkit for generation and display of advance notices (those that appear prior to the official publication);
  • extended search in the Register of Eurasian Patents;
  • redesign of the search functionality on the website;
  • updates in the section “Oppositions and Appeals”;
  • regular database updates for the Register of Eurasian Patents, Register of Eurasian Patent Attorneys and the Eurasian publications server.

To further its public outreach, EAPO continued to make extensive use of such social media as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

EAPATIS Maintenance and Enhancement

EAPATIS, as a Eurasian patent information system, was developed also as a core tool for Eurasian Patent Office examiners and EAPO Member State users to have access to the global collection of patent documents. The audience also includes national IP Office examiners, users from leading universities, libraries, science and technology centres who benefit from free access to EAPATIS as part of the Eurasian Patent Office initiative going strong since 2011 to promote innovation in the EAPO Member States.

Table 5

National IP Offices' frequency of accessing EAPATIS

State 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Armenia 500 348 945 466 161
Azerbaijan 14090 20295 29447 54291 55489
Belarus 50813 60690 69809 56434 30637
Kyrgyzstan 5242 5661 4001 3038 2603
Kazakhstan 71929 78522 102083 85764 63919
Moldova 19602 11288 7067 7076 3685
Russia 32961 46851 41802 46192 51142
Tajikistan 5168 3625 4200 5508 5045
Turkmenistan 7389 2562 340 143 1501
Total: 207 694 229 842 259 694 258 912 214 182

The EAPATIS search data arrays are continuously augmented with up-to-date information and soaring collections of patent documentation. 170 organizations (over 50 percent from Russia) have benefited since 2012 from access to EAPATIS as formalised under a relevant decision by the Administrative Council and agreements with national IP Offices authorizing such access for libraries, leading universities, science and technology centres.

Table 6

EAPATIS performance numbers

Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Number of documents loaded into EAPATIS (mln.) 54 60 65 72 76
Number of universities, libraries, science and technology centres linked to the system 89 132 142 162 167
Number of completed system access sessions (thou) 1077 1063 1403 1978 2546

Diagram 3

Number of search and document retrieval requests in EAPATIS

thou. of access
Количество обращений к системе ЕАПАТИС

For the purposes of examination of Eurasian applications, EAPATIS-based Search Report Processing (SRP) has been relied upon for retrieving cited documents in international search reports. The retrieval of patent documentation has been based on EAPO’s own patent information resources and free access information retrieval systems, such as Patentscope, Espacenet and others. For non-patent literature, the team draws upon the Internet free access or commercial databases, mostly Russian. Corporate users can benefit from non-patent literature by accessing mostly pay-free sources or in-house electronic collections. This approach cuts down Eurasian Office expenditure on pay databases and improves the overall level of examiners' satisfaction with the information provided.

Table 7

Reference documents retrieval performance

Year Applications Total citations Patents and applications Non-patent literature Retrieved Per cent of total number
2014 2323 8119 6714 1405 7915 97,5
2015 2304 8032 6577 1455 7899 98,3
2016 2346 8077 6612 1465 8007 98,4
2017 2316 11318 9036 2072 11108 97,9
2018 2286 11608 9001 2357 11358 97,8

Information Technology Cooperation

Committed to supporting the national IP Offices of EAPO Member States, in the first place, the Eurasian Office is heavily involved in information technology cooperation. The results include

  • support for Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and Internet access to benefit EAPO Member States’ IP Offices;
  • joint participation in information initiatives;
  • participation in the international exchange of patent documentation.

With a view to maintaining the unified Eurasian patent information space, dedicated Internet lines have been made available in the year under review to national IP Offices of EAPO Member States. Offering a great value for many of them, this project has been implemented by the Eurasian Office since 2000.

As part of collaborative information projects, the Eurasian Patent Office assisted in the release of CISPATENT discs storing regional patent information. Under the project arrangements, Russia’s Federal Institute of Industrial Property (FIPS) is the recipient of Eurasian patent descriptions for the end product. The national IP Offices of the EAPO Member States are financed to partake in the project. The Eurasian Office also maintains the CISPATENT database as part of EAPATIS whose data is integral to the information on the optical discs released.

In line with its collaborative commitment and with due account of the local needs and conditions, the Eurasian Patent Office maintains the
in-house developed toolkits used for the production and publication of electronic gazettes by the patent offices of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Tajikistan. The year 2018 saw the production of a pilot set of optical disks storing the issues of the electronic gazette produced by the National Centre for Patents and Information of the Republic of Tajikistan.

As a corporate participant in the international patent documentation exchange, EAPO makes available to interested IP offices  arrays with descriptions of Eurasian applications and patents in raw data format and as optical disk images utilizing MIMOSA information retrieval engine, as well as its electronic Gazette.

The actual publication data (Front File) and retrospective data arrays (Back File) are shared with interested offices as part of the international patent data exchange. These data are also available for purchase to interested commercial providers.

AUTOMATION OF EAPO BACKEND PROCESSES

The Eurasian Patent Office backend processes rely on the Office intranet and general workflow management system running on such software platforms as Parus (“Parus-Predpriyatiye 8”) and regulatory search and retrieval system ConsultantPlus.

EAPO intranet site

The Eurasian Patent Office intranet site (a) keeps the EAPO staff updated – on a timely and comprehensive basis – on all the current corporate news and advancements based on relevant statistics, and (b) allows the EAPO staff to tap into regulatory and methodology guidance documents, as well as different corporate information resources, such as the electronic library, regulatory documents archive and the internal register of Eurasian patents. The internal forum handles sizeable volumes of today’s internal data exchange (a) allowing EAPO staff to access customised personal information as may be needed and (b) provides an IT environment for feedback and information exchange between departments, including requests for IT system improvements and corrective action as may be required in emergency situations.

Licensed Product Support to Advance EAPO Business and Accounting Performance. Expanding Product Application Scope

As a result of relevant IT implementations, the Eurasian Patent Office runs an array of business, personnel and general workflow management systems based, inter alia, on such software platforms as Parus (“Parus-Predpriyatiye 8”) and regulatory search and retrieval system ConsultantPlus.

All the systems were in normal operation, with maintenance services being provided by the EAPO IT personnel, as well as the relevant contractors.

EAPO relies on its general workflow management system for electronic processing of all documents other than those relating to Eurasian applications and patents. The system takes care of the registration, sorting and dispatch of documents to the staff, input of resolutions and assignments and tracking the progress of work. In order to ensure a smooth upgrade of the general workflow management system, a decision was taken in 2018 to switch over to new 1C-based software. The actual transition to a new system was also completed during the year under review.

In line with a broader strategy of ensuring budgeting automation, the year 2018 witnessed complete integration between SOPRANO and the accounting system, as regards the processing of data on EAPO revenues. The initiative improves the efficiency of the Office financial units, saves labour and reduces errors at data entry.

Information technology structure of the Eurasian Office

To facilitate examination and smooth day-to-day functioning of the Eurasian Office and in order to offer broad audiences the benefit of unhindered access to patent information resources, the team worked throughout the year to sustain a modern innovative level of the Eurasian Office’s information technology infrastructure. The focus of the infrastructure management was on embracing a proactive planning with a view to

  • providing a high-speed access to information resources of the Eurasian patent system with due account of an ever greater number of electronic patent services’ users and progressive development of the software;
  • offering a flexible response to information security challenges and adapting to modern threats.

Guided by this new approach, the team accomplished scheduled upgrade of its IT infrastructure to ensure its resilience to system failure and safe and secure access to the Office’s information resources. These measures effectively put in place a distributed network infrastructure and resulted in all-time low downtime in service provision, in line with the latest global industry standards for information technology.

Information Security Management

In 2018, EAPO continued to lead collaborative effort to advance its information security management practices. Protection priorities for the Eurasian Office’s information assets were reviewed with due regard for the evolving operational modalities, including the systems that ensure corporate business continuity and backup and recovery of vital information technology systems.

To enhance data and infrastructure protection, security protocols were revised and improved, based on the analysis of their prior functioning.

Server backups of EAPO’s vital automation systems were stored in a secondary data centre, thus providing for uninterrupted operation of EAPO internal users and continuous filing of Eurasian applications via EAPO-ONLINE.

In order to minimize the risks of failure of Internet-based automated systems, efforts were made to identify and address potential vulnerabilities in EAPATIS and on EAPO’s web portal.

As a means to ensure fast backup of information arrays and reduce system downtime, a special protocol was developed whereby database backup could be run without stopping SOPRANO. Also, a full backup was made of the EAPATIS information repository (more than 40 TB).

To ensure compliance with current safety and sustainability requirements, HIVE, the software that does the groundwork for publications, was upgraded to a new version of Java.

The Eurasian Office intends to further advance EAPO’s current information security management system to ensure that it is in line with the Organization’s objectives.