The main priorities of 2020 for the EAPO with regard to automation and informatization were:
• upgrading the ensemble of EAPO automated information systems (AIS) in order to enable filing, registration, examination of applications for Eurasian design patents, grant of Eurasian design patents, registration of legal status changes and publication of Eurasian applications and patents for industrial designs;
• developing tools for conducting patent searches including the search quality assessment means in the framework of the goal to obtain the status of an International Searching Authority (ISA) and an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT);
• upgrading of existing AIS and information technologies (IT) to ensure sustainable operation of the EAPO under conditions of transition of a number of employees to remote operation due to the spread of COVID-19.
Maintaining and further upgrading of existing EAPO AIS aimed at reducing the workload and expanding the options open to the users, improving the quality of document collections and ensuring the sustainable operation of the EAPO information infrastructure also remained relevant tasks for the Office.
PREPARATORY PROCESS FOR THE LAUNCH OF THE EURASIAN SYSTEM OF LEGAL PROTECTION OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS
In order to ensure a wholistic approach to automation of the Office’s operations with regard to the Eurasian applications and patents for industrial designs, the reporting year witnessed developing of a stage-by-stage plan for upgrading the EAPO AIS to ensure electronic interaction with applicants (EAPO-ONLINE), internal electronic office workflow (SOPRANO and ePHOENIX), preparation and publication of the EAPO official publications (HIVE system and Eurasian Publication Server).
When upgrading the system of electronic filing of Eurasian applications and electronic exchange of documents EAPO-ONLINE, the changes affected the functionality of filing new Eurasian applications and subsequent correspondence, providing information on Eurasian applications, as well as means of access to the electronic file of Eurasian industrial design applications (personal account of EAPO-ONLINE).
While revising SOPRANO, an additional Status Transition Diagram (STD) for industrial designs was formed (73 new operations were implemented) and AIS database structure was finalized (11 new tables were added to the database). AIS basic configuration for records management on Eurasian design applications was performed, including implementation of the domain model allowing to handle various intellectual property subject matters (inventions, industrial designs, etc.) in the framework of the unified version of AIS. The tools for data input and procedural actions, including the tools for work with design data, maintenance and use of the International Design Classification were perfomed as well. In particular, 18 new screen forms have been developed, 23 new letter templates have been prepared and 20 new handlers for operations have been created.
An important task of upgrading the ePHOENIX electronic dossier system (ePHOENIX) and its client component MADRAS consisted in ensuring storage and processing of color images. In order to solve this task, the IT team updated the document loader from EAPO-ONLINE, implemented support for color images in ePHOENIX, and upgraded the tools for sending Eurasian applications and patents for publication, including the publication preview option.
As part of the preparatory process of the publication tools for Eurasian design applications and design patents, as well as notifications on changes in their legal status, the EAPO IT team implemented the technology of direct uploading of data from AIS and ePHOENIX without intermediate processing. For this purpose, the team developed means for selecting and loading data for previewing, prepared a new set of publication management tools (approval, sending for revision, withdrawal from publication) based on SOPRANO and introduced means for uploading and displaying data related to Eurasian industrial design applications and patents on the Eurasian publication server.
The newly developed tools for electronic filing of Eurasian industrial design applications through the IP Offices of the EAPC Contracting States underwent a number of tests involving assistance from the IP Offices of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
All new tools have been transferred to the production servers and are ready for use from the date of start of the EAPO operational activity in the field of industrial designs.
AUTOMATION AND ADVANCEMENT OF PAPERLESS TECHNOLOGY FOR PROCEDURAL WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT
Electronic Filing of Eurasian Applications and Electronic Document Exchange
Integrated with other automated information systems of the Eurasian Office, EAPO-ONLINE is a system for electronic filing of applications and electronic exchange of documents, which takes care of the bilateral electronic communication with the applicants, patent owners and their representatives.
The EAPO recorded a stable inflow of electronic applications and electronic documents. In terms of numbers, 2020 saw 2,998 applications filed electronically with the EAPO, or more than 88.7 per cent of total filings.
Applications Filed Electronically
|Applications filed electronically||2558||2683||2842||2889||2998|
|Percentage of total number||75||81||81,5||82,9||88,7|
The number of EAPO-ONLINE users entirely relying on electronic communication with the EAPO continued to increase. By the end of 2020, as many as 48 Agreements on EAPO Correspondence Received in Electronic Form came into effect.
The reporting year witnessed an increase not only in the number of applications filed electronically, but also in the total number of documents submitted through EAPO-ONLINE.
Documents Filed Electronically
|Documents filed electronically||62003||87996||94661||118436||125321|
|Percentage of total number||39,5||50,3||56,4||67,4||77,9|
A dramatic increase in the percentage of Eurasian applications filed electronically is related to the transition of the IP Offices of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic to electronic interaction with the EAPO based on agreements on electronic exchange of documents on Eurasian patent applications and Eurasian patents, as well as active transition of applicants to electronic interaction with the EAPO under the restrictions imposed due to the spread of COVID-19.
As part of preparation for administering ISA and IPEA functions, the EAPO IT team upgraded the means of display of Eurasian patent application documents related to the patent search conducted by the EAPO and combined them in a separate section of EAPO-ONLINE.
Electronic Workflow Management of Eurasian Applications and Patents
The EAPO relies on its procedure automation tools underlying electronic workflow management of Eurasian applications and patents. The said tools include automation system SOPRANO completed with additional modules and a toolkit for statistics running on SAP Business Object platform.
EAPO’s practical electronic document management is based on the electronic dossier system running on ePHOENIX platform.
SOPRANO and ePHOENIX are deeply integrated with electronic filing and electronic exchange tool EAPO-ONLINE.
In order to ensure efficient remote work of SOPRANO users in 2020, the technology of preparation and sending of SOPRANO correspondence in electronic form with a digital signature (DS) was implemented. The interface of the SOPRANO was upgraded, the functionality for automated saving of correspondence in the storage, stamping, signing with DS, documents previewing and loading of sent correspondence into PHOENIX/MADRAS was developed.
Services integrated with the accounting software "Parus" for automated saving of information on received payments and fees due were brought into operation, which allowed to reduce labor costs and exclude errors caused by manual input of data.
|as percentage of total number||39,5||50,3||56,4||67,4||77,9|
|as percentage of total number||28,1||47,8||55||79,7||85|
Outgoing documents / Including digital form
Electronic Publication of Eurasian Patent Documentation
The reporting year saw development of the measures for instant publication of information on the granted Eurasian patents, full descriptions to Eurasian patents and notifications on any changes in the legal status of the Eurasian applications and patents for inventions. As the result of these efforts, an average period of preparation for publication of full descriptions to Eurasian applications and patents for inventions has reduced and reached 51 days.
Totals of Published Eurasian Applications and Patents
|Year||Applications (A1+A2)||Search reports (A3)||Patents (B1)||Corrections||Percentage of corrections in full text|
|on the title page (A8/B8)||in full text (A9/B9)|
Full descriptions of Eurasian applications and patents are available on the Eurasian publication server in PDF format and as raw data in XML, TIFF and PDF formats, in the authorized access section of EAPO web portal.
Within the framework of development of technologies for preparation of descriptions for Eurasian applications and patents for inventions the study of WIPO_OCR software was conducted, including draft of the technology project, installment of the server and client software, formation of an array of test documents, evaluation of applicability and integration possibilities of WIPO_OCR software in the existing EAPO workflow.
FORMATION OF THE 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 tariffs, including online forms for their calculation and payment, as well as information on Eurasian patent attorneys.
The reporting year saw translation into English of the interfaces of the main information retrieval systems of the EAPO web portal - Eurasian Publication Server and Eurasian Patent Register. The English version of the EAPO web resources was showcased at the EPO conference "East meets West 2020".
The EAPO IT team developed the means to inform the users of the current status of Eurasian patent applications not displayed in the official publications in the framework of expanding the Eurasian Publication Server functionality.
EAPATIS Maintenance and Enhancement
The Eurasian patent information system EAPATIS was developed as one of the core tools for EAPO examiners and the EAPC Contracting States users to have access to the global collection of patent documents. The audience also includes national IP office examiners, users from leading universities, libraries, centers of science and technology who benefit from free access to full EAPATIS as part of the EAPO initiative going strong since 2011 to promote innovation in the EAPC Contracting States.
Requests of National IP Offices’ to EAPATIS
The EAPATIS searchable data are continuously augmented with new documents and soaring collections of patent documentation. 170 organizations (over half of them coming from the Russian Federation) have benefited since 2012 from access to EAPATIS as formalized under a relevant decision by the EAPO Administrative Council and agreements with national IP offices authorizing such access for libraries, leading universities, centers of science and technology.
In 2020, additional measures were taken to block unauthorized access to EAPATIS by search robots, which reduced the load on the system as a whole.
EAPATIS Performance Numbers
|Number of documents loaded into EAPATIS (mln.)||65||72||76||81||84|
|Number of universities, libraries, centers of science and technology having access to full EAPATIS||142||162||167||172||173|
For the purposes of examination of Eurasian patent applications, EAPATIS-based Search Report Processing (SRP) has been relied upon for retrieving documents cited in search reports. The retrieval of patent documentation has been based on EAPO’s own patent information resources and free access search and 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. Most non-patent literature is retrieved from pay-free sources or in-house electronic collections. This approach cuts down Eurasian Office expenditure on commercial databases and improves the overall level of examiners' satisfaction with the information provided.
The EAPO pays utmost attention to providing examiners with access to relevant databases and information systems of leading commercial providers.
Cited Documents Retrieval Performance
|Year||Applications||Total citations||Patents and applications||Non-patent literature||Retrieved||Percentage|
In 2020, the EAPO IT team substantially redesigned the English-language interface of EAPATIS, including a package of documentation for conducting searches and describing document collections in English, as well as reorganized the collections of patent documentation of the Eurasian region. The unified data ensemble has been formed and supplemented, where necessary, with machine translations of bibliographic data and abstracts into English. Considerable attention has been paid to the tools linking patent documents found in EAPATIS with open registers of the national patent offices. This facility provided the foreign users with the possibility to obtain access to patent documentation of the EAPO and national patent offices via a single point, which serves as a means to attract to the Eurasian region the applicants from beyond its geographical limits. The English version of EAPATIS is now in production operation.
Information Technology Cooperation
Cooperation in the field of information and technology focused, first and foremost, on assisting the national IP offices of the EAPC Contracting States, was carried out in the following areas:
With a view to maintaining the unified Eurasian patent information space in 2020, the national IP offices of the EAPC Contracting States continued to enjoy broadband Internet access via dedicated Internet lines.
As part of collaborative information projects, the EAPO contributes to the release of CISPATENT, a regional patent information product. Under the project arrangements, the Federal Institute of Industrial Property (Russian Federation) is the recipient of Eurasian patent descriptions for the end product. EAPO covers the costs allowing the national IP offices of the EAPC Contracting States to partake in the project. The EAPO also maintains the CISPATENT database as part of EAPATIS that is integrated to the information product released on the optical discs. In 2020, the discussion continued on the prospects of the project, which must lead to the expansion of the types of the published data and improvement of publication deadlines.
As a corporate participant in the international patent documentation exchange, the EAPO makes it available for the interested IP offices to receive descriptions of Eurasian applications and patents as raw data or as optical disk images in MIMOSA format, as well as its electronic Gazette.
The Office shares the front file publication data and back file data arrays with interested IP offices as part of the international patent data exchange. These data are also available for purchase for interested commercial providers.
AUTOMATION OF EAPO BACKEND PROCESSES
The Eurasian Patent Office backend processes rely on the Office intranet, automated general workflow management system, Parus software package (“Parus-Predpriyatiye 8”) and regulatory search and retrieval system ConsultantPlus. The EAPO is also considering the possibility of using in its backend processes the new technologies of artificial intelligence (AI), including:
EAPO Intranet Site
The Eurasian Patent Office intranet site keeps the EAPO staff updated on a timely and comprehensive basis on all the current corporate news and advancements based on relevant performance indicators, and allows the EAPO staff to have access to regulatory and methodology guidance documents, as well as to various corporate information resources, such as the electronic library, regulatory documents archive and the in-house instance of the Register of Eurasian patents. The internal forum handles a considerable volume of day-to-day data exchange, which allows the EAPO staff to access customized and personalized information and provides for information exchange between the users of the EAPO automated systems, for instance, for the purpose of filing requests for IT system improvements and corrective action in case of incidents.
Licensed Product Support to Advance EAPO Business and Accounting Performance.
Expanding Product Application Scope
In order to provide for the operating and financial, personnel and general workflow management, the EAPO adopts and makes use of a number of electronic systems including, among others, the general workflow management system, “Parus-Predpriyatiye 8” and regulatory search and retrieval system ConsultantPlus.
In 2020, all the systems were in normal operation, while the EAPO IT team and contractors provided all necessary maintenance services in accordance with the respective technical maintenance agreements.
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.
Information Infrastructure of the Office
In 2020, the EAPO infrastructure underwent significant changes aimed at creating effective interaction with users of the Eurasian patent system and EAPO employees in order to obtain quality examination results and maintain the validity of Eurasian patents for inventions. Strict adherence to the leading world standards has allowed maximum efficient usage of the previously installed computer network equipment, which served the information systems of the Office. New strategic goals of the Eurasian Patent Organization highlighted the need to modernize the existing computer network.
The new computing infrastructure project has been successfully implemented - a strong foundation has been laid for further digitalization of the Eurasian patent system and meeting the growing needs of international customers. The most efficient and cost-effective solution was implemented through the use of new network technologies, allowing for flexible expansion of computing capacity in accordance with the needs based on current corporate workflow. In 2020, the EAPO met all requirements for the security of network connections and the quality of information provisioning for external requests.
Information Security Management
In the reporting year, the EAPO continued to employ efforts to advance its information security management practices. This enabled the Organization to achieve top results in ensuring continuity of the information systems.
In order to enhance protection activities, the EAPO employed measures to timely identify security threats and reduce the risk of disruption of IT systems.
The year of 2020 prompted optimization of the backup processes for crucial AIS, which made it possible to reduce the maintenance downtime of the entire information system of the EAPO by several times.
In order to ensure stable operation under the pressure of transferring the EAPO employees to remote operation mode, EAPO took a set of measures to refine and adjust the existing AIS, which resulted in a more direct and secure Internet access to SOPRANO, MADRAS web interface, Crystal Reports statistics server and HIVE publication processing system.