In patents, the focus was on artificial intelligence and IT development

The PRH continued the development of its new system for processing patent applications, which is expected to become operational by the start of 2021. The system will improve our electronic services and allow us to process patent applications more efficiently.

Patent offices in a number of different countries are testing AI-based applications in tasks such as the processing of patent applications. By means of artificial intelligence, the PRH also continued working to improve the efficiency of the novelty search.

Little change in the number of patent applications

The number of national patent applications remained at previous years’ levels and there was a slight increase in the number of international applications. The number of European patents validated in Finland also increased.

Finalised national patent applications: 1480 in 2018, 1678 in 2017. International patent matters. Processed PCT applications: 1010 in 2018, 977 in 2017. Conducted novelty searchers: 501 in 2018, 466 in 2017. European patents validated in Finland: 7514 in 2018, 7065 in 2017. Finalised utility model applications: 439 in 2018, 478 in 2017.

Shorter processing times

On average, the examination of each national patent application took 2.4 years, which was slightly less than in the past.

However, minimising the processing time should not be the prime concern in patent matters as the quality of the novelty search and providing a reliable estimate of the completion date are more important. In 2018, the PRH was able to fulfil its service promise by processing 98% of the novelty searches within the time limit of 8 months, whereas the median time for processing was 6.7 months.

In order to evaluate the quality of research on patent applications, we continued what is known as harmonising research (benchmarking) between the PRH and the European Patent Organization (EPO).

Entry into force of the unitary patent system still open

There is still uncertainty about the entry into force of the unitary patent system drafted in the EU. The unitary patent would be important for companies requiring EU-wide patent protection.

Utility models

More than 12,000 utility models

In March, the PRH registered its 12,000th utility model. The utility model protection was granted to an anti-skid shoe cover.

Registering a utility model provides quick protection for a technical solution but the novelty of the invention is only examined at separate request. The PRH registered the first utility models in 1992.

Board of industrial property attorneys