Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the Patent Office’s reopening, and the Estonian Patent Office’s yearbook has been reaching readers for roughly the same amount of time. The Office’s third digital yearbook appears before you.
Again, 2022 was an extremely active and eventful year. The word of the year was moving. We opened new office spaces in Tartu and the whole Office moved into the shared building of three organizations on Tatari street. Furthermore, we now have a new website with a unified government identity. Both the virtual and physical homes still require adjustment and settling in.
Regretfully, last year also highlighted how fragile the world’s stability is. As a result of the war in Ukraine, the world has changed, and Estonia firmly backs Ukraine. The Office has participated in a number of international support initiatives, including ones in collaboration with WIPO, EPO, and EUIPO.
For more than three years, the Office have been implementing a quality management system that has received ISO certification. The work’s quality must be reevaluated and the certificate renewed after three years. The Office proved last year that it had implemented its quality management system in line with the standards of the ISO 9001: 2015 by passing a certification audit. The ISO certificate ensures that the Office’s services are of high quality and that they will stay accessible, trustworthy, and secure in the future.
In order to get ready for the introduction of software for processing applications for legal protection of inventions to be completed in 2023, special attention was paid to the preparation for the transition to a paperless procedure, for which we digitized all paper files.
It has become customary to conduct annual user satisfaction surveys. Last year we organized a survey of small- and medium-sized businesses’ intellectual property, which we and the researcher presented to the public on December 1.
Estonia recently celebrated 20 years of membership in the European Patent Convention and European Patent Organization. On this occasion, the President of the European Patent Office, António Campinos, paid a visit Estonia, who, in addition to meetings at the Estonian Patent Office, also met with the Minister of Justice, Lea Danilson-Järg. The visit’s goal was to establish a framework for the upcoming five-year period of cooperation. The success of Estonian inventors at the European Inventor Award in the industry category this year was also a topic of interest – this stands out among the country’s research and development efforts as its remarkable accomplishment this year.
The development of introducing unitary patent went forward. All necessary preparations were taken last year, even though the European Unions unitary patent system will launch on June 1, 2023. It is also assured that the Unified Patent Court will be ready to begin operations. Stefan Johansson (Sweden) and Harju District Court Judge Kai Härmand were both elected to the Nordic-Baltic Regional Division (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden). Both judges will continue to serve as judges in their home nations while beginning to work part-time in the new industry.
We continued on collaborating with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in a number of ways. We presented the Estonian Patent Office’s special prize as well as the WIPO medal at the National Contest of Young Inventors for the ninth time. The Estonian Research Council, a trustworthy partner in cooperation, is the primary organizer of this wonderful competition that spotlights young inventors. We also organized a regional webinar on “Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions” in December with WIPO.
According to the rankings of the Global Innovation Index (GII), Estonia climbed to the 10th spot in Europe and the 18th spot globally in 2022. The first place belongs to Switzerland, the second place went to the USA and third to Sweden. The GII 2022 tracks global innovation trends against the background of an ongoing pandemic, a slowing of productivity growth and other evolving challenges. Last year, the focus was on the impact of innovation on society’s productivity and well-being in the coming decades.
The Office has also taken intellectual property awareness initiatives seriously, and as a result, we continue to update our blog with news about our industry. Seminars in all IP areas, including the recently added copyright and related rights, will undoubtedly continue.
Beginning with last year, we also started to choose a trade mark of the month. The trade mark of the year title was awarded to the South Estonian company Villatoode OÜ for the trade mark MÄÄ. You can read about all of these trade marks on our blog.
The number of applications filed to the Office has varied along with the economy; last year, we received fewer applications in almost every department. At the same time, we must keep reminding ourselves that even the most challenging circumstances will lead to the development of fresh concepts, ideas, and solutions.
I send my best wishes for strength, patience, and clarity of mind to all of our business associates, both in Estonia and around the globe, and I express my gratitude to all coworkers at the Estonian Patent Office for their hard work and dedication, which you can learn more about in the chapters that follow.