EPO aims to improve patent classification in LEDs field

Oct. 10, 2005
Having seen a steep increase in the number of patent applications related to solid-state lighting, the European patent office is now taking steps to improve its classification system.

The European Patent Office (EPO) is currently engaged in two major projects to improve its classification of patents relating to LEDs. As Johan van der Linden, an EPO patent examiner and chief documentation manager for this technical field, explains, patents are a very important source of information on prior art. "Classification – indexing of documentation according to a worldwide agreed scheme – is paramount in retrieving this information," he said. "The alternative is to use keyword searches, which can take a very long time, and can also lead to relevant documents being missed."

Johan van der Linden

However, van der Linden admits that at present, patent classification in the area of solid-state lighting is not transparent. "We are trying to deal with this situation via a dedicated project," he said. "Internally, this will provide us with better prior art searches and allow us to build improved statistics."

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