Tuesday 23 November

The UK IPO Search Symposium

When and where

Date and time

Start: Tuesday 23 November 2021, 12:30 PM

End: Tuesday 23 November 2021, 01:30 PM

Event Overview

No less than 10 speakers from the UK IPO join forces in this, not to be missed, webinar that gives an unparalleled insight into what really happens when a UK application moves through the searching stage, or a request for a search at the UK IPO is made.  How do Examiners really use the claims in deciding how to search your application, and how might this impact on your drafting? How does the approach of the UK IPO differ from the EPO, and how might you be able to use this knowledge to your advantage for your clients?  Searching at the UK IPO is significantly more economical than at some other Patent Offices, and this webinar unpicks why, as well as exploring how the UK IPO benchmarks against other major Patent Offices so you can make informed choices for your business.  In an exciting new format – you choose which breakout room to attend for practical search demonstrations by UK IPO experts in your chosen technical field to make the most of this opportunity!  Surely a must attend event for any patent attorney!

Draft Programme:

12:30: Welcome/introductions

  • General welcome from Divisional Director of Patent Examination – Julyan Elbro
  • Introduction to the webinar and explanation of running order – Peter Mason

12:35: “Search tools and associated prior art coverage” Presentation – Stephen Otter

12:45: Breakouts Rooms

  • “Video encoding” breakout – Chaired by Andrew Rose
  • “Biotechnology” breakout – Chaired by Anne Barrett
  • “Pharmaceuticals” breakout – Chaired by Natalie Cole

13:00: “How we validate our own process” Presentation – Robert Shorthouse

13:15: Concluding Q&A

13:25: Concluding remarks and call for feedback – Sarah Whitehead


Please find below links to the videos shown in the breakout rooms:

Patent Searching at the IPO – YouTube

Patent Searching at the IPO chemistry – YouTube

Patent Searching at the IPO Biotech – YouTube


Fellows, Students


Stephen Otter, IPO

Stephen Otter, IPO

Stephen Otter is a Senior Patent Examiner and the IPO’s Patent Search Tools Manager. Stephen is responsible for ensuring that IPO patent examiners have the right search tools and understand how to use them effectively.

Robert Shorthouse, IPO

Robert Shorthouse, IPO

Robert Shorthouse is a Senior Patent Examiner working in computing, and has been leading work on understanding what data shows about search quality and trends at the IPO and how that compares internationally.

Peter Mason, IPO

Peter Mason, IPO

Peter Mason is a Deputy Director in charge of Search practice and Patent Examination quality at the UK IPO, as well as managing a cluster of examination groups dealing with Medical devices and measurement. With an academic background in materials engineering and systems engineering, following a period in industry he has worked at the UK IPO since 1999, originally as a Patent Examiner, but also spending time at the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) working on IP strategies for government funded programmes.

Julyan Elbro, IPO

Julyan Elbro, IPO

Julyan Elbro is Divisional Director in charge of Patent Examination in the Intellectual Property Office, with overall responsibility for the patents service.  .  With an academic background in mathematics and computer science, he has worked at the Intellectual Property Office since 1998, originally as a Patent Examiner, but also spending some time in the Office’s Policy Directorate covering a range of portfolios including biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and the World Trade Organisation TRIPs Agreement.  He returned to patent examining in 2006 as head of the group dealing with computing inventions, before moving to his current position in June 2009.

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