The first hundred days is a phrase commonly associated with US Presidents. This period is considered long enough that people can start to get an idea of how their term is going to go and whether they are making any progress. In this case it is not the US President but António Campinos, the new President of the EPO who is reflecting on their first hundred(ish) days in office.
My academic background is in chemistry and crystallography, and in the field of crystallography there is an old saying that the longer you look for polymorphs (alternative crystal structures), the more you find. A similar saying about prior art could apply to patent applications and this can create conflict between Applicants wanting early certainty regarding the grant of their applications and patent offices wanting to ensure that a thorough search and examination has been performed.
In his blog António Campinos has focused on these issues, and the intertwined factors of efficiency, quality and long-term sustainability. He states that the EPO are working hard on these issues and looking for ways to improve.
While there haven't been any major changes in these first hundred days, the outlook does appear positive. It is worth noting that he acknowledges that simply saying these things is not enough, and notes that the EPO are looking to ensure that these improvements are felt by their users.
To support us in the pursuit of increased quality, other actions will include further digital transformation. And we could also take a fresh look at our procedures to possibly simplify some elements and seek further efficiency and quality gains. I am closely following-up the progress made by all those at the EPO who are involved in enhancing the quality of our products and services. My goal is to ensure that effective measures – which are beneficial to both internal and external stakeholders – are implemented as soon as possible. Right now, we are just at the beginning of a new journey in which no stone will be left unturned when it comes to improving our quality.