The EPO has recently announced that for increased legal certainty it will prioritize certain cases. More specifically, under something called the “Early Certainty from Search” scheme, the EPO “aims to issue all search reports and written opinions on patentability within six months of filing, to prioritise the completion of examination files it has already started over beginning work on new files, and to expedite grants once a positive search opinion has been issued.” Further, the EPO “will seek to prioritise processing of those cases where substantiated observations are filed by third parties who identify themselves, and also of oppositions and requests for limitation or revocation.” (Source: here)

This sounds great. Actually, it sounds as if the EPO is aiming at prioritizing almost all cases. However, as we all know, giving priority to some cases means that other cases will receive less attention. Already now we have often noticed that in spite of having filed so-called PACE requests for accelerated examination, years can pass before examination starts at the EPO. Thus, it is not clear to us if this new “prioritization scheme” will actually provide for any overall benefit for applicants . Some pessimists among us have muttered that it sounds like political bullsh*t. And some mutter that they have perceived a downward trend in the quality of the European search reports and written opinions, and that this aim to prioritize almost all cases without increasing resources may not be the best way to stop this downward trend… But they may just be pessimists.

In spite of these new priorities, we observe that the EPO has resources enough to help to improve the Latin American patent system. Apparently a new agreement to do so has been signed with the Spanish PTO, after “successful completion of a similar agreement signed in 2011” (source: here). Here at BALDER we are quite active in Latin America but we feel that we may have overlooked something: we are not sure of what has been successfully completed. More information about actual results would have been appreciated. Otherwise pessimists may start to mutter about “more political bullsh*t”…