Assessment of results
|Key figures for period 2014-2016:||2014||2015||2016|
|Trademark applications||15 450||16 630||15 702|
|Design applications||1 219||1 214||1 229|
|Patent applications||1 564||1 804||2 062|
|Validated European patent applications||2 556||3 341||4 431|
There was an increase in most areas, and a particularly welcome increase from Norwegian applicants. Overall, however, 3.3% fewer applications were received than in 2015. This is primarily attributable to a delay in international trademark applications to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office from WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).
Production was high in 2016, we granted more than 21 000 rights – an increase of 11% on 2015. The customer surveys we have conducted show, at the same time, that applicants are highly satisfied with our services.
As in previous years, and in line with directions from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, NIPO devoted the greater part of its resources to statutory tasks through its role as a government agency. More than 90% of our resources were devoted to such tasks.
Improving the application process
In the letter of allocation for 2016, NIPO is asked to work towards improving the application processes, so that they will become more efficient and matched to the needs of our customers. As part of this endeavour, new digital solutions are to be developed that result in more effective and customer-friendly communication.
NIPO has followed this up, among other ways, through a service design project in which we received many useful suggestions as to how we can improve our search processes. Based on the insights we gained in this project, we will accomplish new and forward-looking digital solutions for processing patent, trademark and design applications. We will use these solutions to respond to the needs of customers throughout the application process.
Alongside this digital development process, we are now looking at how we can simplify the application process by revising our patent, trademark and design processes. This work will be completed in 2017. In addition, in 2016 we responded to the instruction on digital solutions by developing and improving our search service and putting new electronic payments into use for our customers. NIPO was a significant contributor to a cooperation project among service providers to develop a payment solution in the online service Altinn. This solution was launched in September, and 10% of fees for applications received through Altinn were paid electronically. At the same time, we launched an electronic payment solution for the renewal of patent, trademark and design rights. This solution makes it simpler to renew rights and has resulted in fewer incorrect payments, which in turn results in savings both for customers and for NIPO. Nearly 80% of renewal fees in the area of patents, trademarks and designs are now paid in this way.
Improving the use of intellectual property assets in trade and industry
In its letter of allocation, NIPO is asked to continue to focus on measures to improve the use of intellectual property assets in trade and industry. Measures implemented in 2016 are primarily aimed at educational institutions, policy instrument actors, incubators/business gardens, clusters and trade and industry organisations. These proactive activities accounted for just 3.5% of total use of resources in 2016 and are described in a separate action plan delivered to the Ministry in the first half of the year.
Cooperating with other organisations
Another important task is to bring about good cooperation with the other policy instrument actors over time, so that we obtain clear and coordinated activities, and so that the policy instruments complement each other well. During the course of last year we carried out several cooperative activities with the Brønnøysund Register Centre, the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (DOGA), the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (Siva) and Innovation Norway, and we wish to continue to do so in the future.
Revenue at NOK 246.2 million was 3.4% higher than the original allocation of NOK 238 million. The high level of revenue was mainly attributable to the high number of patent applications and more validated European patent applications than expected.
Around 97% of NIPO's revenue is linked to the role as a government agency in the areas of patents, trademarks and designs, and handling of complaints concerning business names. The area of patents accounts for most of the total revenue. It is also important to be aware that a large proportion of NIPO revenue comes from foreign enterprises wishing to obtain rights in Norway.
As part of its role as a government agency, NIPO carries out a range of tasks which do not generate any revenue. Examples are information activities concerning patents, trademarks and designs, the development of electronic services aimed at customers, regulatory work in industrial property rights, participation in international forums for the development of the intellectual property rights system and acting as secretariat for the Mediation Board for Employee Inventions.
NIPO's operating expenditure
In 2016 NIPO had NOK 252 645 at its disposal. Revenue and expenditure associated with ordinary operation are in balance.
With effect from 2016, all NIPO staff have recorded time spent on different activities, and this provides us with better management information. More than 90% of NIPO expenditure is related to the role of government agency, with case administration in the areas of patents, trademarks and designs accounting for the major share. Other tasks which follow from being an IPR authority, including regulatory activity, representing Norway in international forums on intellectual property rights, tasks NIPO has undertaken for the Board of Appeal for Industrial Property Rights (KFIR), support provided to various ministries, information centres, websites and the development of electronic services aimed at customers, and handling of complaints concerning business names, altogether accounted for 92.7% of the use of resources in 2016.
In 2016, NIPO devoted 3.5% of its resources to activities relating to its proactive instigating role, and 3.8% to activities associated with its assignment role. Salaries and social security contributions accounted for 77.5% of operating expenditure, and expenditure in connection with purchasing of goods and services for 21.9%.