Patents, trademarks and designs
We conduct a survey every year to find out how satisfied customers who filed applications for patent, trademark and design registration in 2016 were.
A total of 474 out of 2 138 responded to the survey, giving a response rate of 22%. The survey reveals a high level of customer satisfaction in all three areas of patents, trademarks and designs.
The outcome on most parameters is well above our target of 3.5, and has been very stable from one year to the next. There are nevertheless some variations: On breaking the results down into different groups of customers, we find, for instance, that professional representatives are more demanding and critical than other customers who file patent applications. The professionals have very good knowledge of the IPR system, and make exacting demands on NIPO. The surveys provide us with valuable input regarding how we can improve our offering to this group.
In the area of trademarks, we find that medium-sized enterprises in particular have high expectations regarding how quickly a trademark application will be processed. Despite a short case processing time in comparison with other patent offices, the results show that this group is somewhat less satisfied than other groups. It also appears that there is a lack of clarity in the actual process of registering a trademark. Dialogue with customers in connection with the application process and more accessible information are therefore areas in which we intend to do more.
Results of preliminary examinations
We also conduct an annual survey among those who have purchased one or more preliminary examinations in patents, trademarks and designs. Of the 300 who received the survey form, around 70 (23%) replied.
The results show that our customers are highly satisfied with our preliminary examinations, and little has changed over time. The target here is also 3.5. We find that customers who have paid for preliminary examinations for patents in particular are highly satisfied with the communication they have had with the case officer. When preliminary examinations are performed in the area of patents, the case offer phones the customer beforehand to clarify the assignment, and the outcome shows that this customer contact is important.
NIPO is targeting customer orientation and the development of dialogue with the customers, including the use of plain language.
In addition to the annual surveys mentioned above, we also gather feedback from customers in our quality assurance system and use the information systematically to improve our services. This may be feedback on errors in our databases, unclear information in letters or variation in case administration practice. A practical example from 2016 is feedback suggesting that our registration certificate is not formal enough, this being an important document of value for our customers. We have therefore produced new registration certificates that respond to this wish. Feedback from our customers is an important element in the development of our search service. Dialogue with our users is important in the development of all new services.
In 2016, we carried out the projects "The Customer Knows the Way", and "Customer-driven First-line Service", both of which were aimed at improving customer experience and improving efficiency in the processing of applications at NIPO.
"The Customer Shows the Way" used service design as methodology. The objective was to develop future-oriented processes for customer dialogue and processing of applications. The customer knowledge we acquired through this project has resulted in several measures, suchg as the realisation of new, digital solutions for processing patent, trademark and design applications. We wish to address the customer's needs throughout the application process – before the application is submitted, while it is being processed and after a decision has been reached on it. In addition, we wish to make our application processes less complex and more predictable, and reduce the need for correspondence. This will result in improved efficiency, good user experience and reduced costs, both for our customers and for NIPO. We are specifically working now on updating and improving the application guide provided in Altinn. At the same time, we are working on developing new functions in addition to payment and alerts which can be used when logged on to our website today.
"Customer-driven First-line Service": In 2016, NIPO prepared a strengthening and further professionalisation of our first-line service for information on intellectual property rights and assets. Case officers in patents, trademarks and design will be joining the Information centre and thereby enhancing the skills and resources available to our customers. The new customer centre will become operational during the first quarter of 2017.