Thursday, 23 June 2016

If patent data is your goal, Croatia counts too

Is patent data your goal?
Don't forgets the Croats!
Croatia is a small country, a chunk cut out of what was once Yugoslavia, with a population of not much more than four million. The country attracts little attention when compared with larger European nations and many educated people would be hard-pressed to locate it on the map. On the day that voters in the United Kingdom go to the polls to determine whether to remain members of the European Union, we record that Croatia, three years ago next week, became the EU's 28th and latest member state. 

The Croatian economy is overwhelmingly driven by tourism, a sector in which it excels, and to a lesser extent by the production and export of highly skilled football players, but it is not normally associated with intellectual property -- so why does it feature in today's blogpost?

The explanation can be found in a recent announcement from the European Patent Office (EPO) that Croatia has now joined the Federated European Patent Register (described by the EPO as "the place to find procedural and legal status data on patent applications handled by the European Patent Office"). 

This initiative is all part of a push by the EPO to provide more, and more accessible, patent registration data for users of the system as well as for any business that might be affected by the patenting activities of competitors. As part of the EPO's commitment to user-friendliness it provides an introductory video for first-time users and you can even access it by smartphone.

While the Register is more focused on smaller jurisdictions which might otherwise be looked, it is by no means confined to Europe's innovation tiddlers: following the addition of Croatia, the list of countries on the register features Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Unlike the voluntary non-profit initiative of ORoPO, the Open Register of Patent Ownership, the EPO's register does not affirm the accuracy of the records it holds.  Nonetheless it is a further valuable addition to the stock of searchable information and we hope that it will be put to good and constructive use by all who work in the IP analytics sector. Given that patent data relating to even relatively minor territories within the European Union can have a significant bearing on intellectual property-driven trade and legal protection in the half-a-billion strong single market, the Federated Register may come in pretty handy ...

For more information about Croatia, click here.

To watch highlights of Croatia's triumph over much-fancied Spain earlier this week in the Euro 2016 competition, click here.

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