With almost 7 000 employees, the European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the largest public service institutions in Europe. Its headquarters are in Munich and it also has offices in Berlin, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna. The EPO was founded with the aim of strengthening co-operation on patents in Europe. Through the EPO's centralised patent granting procedure, inventors are able to obtain high-quality patent protection in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. The EPO is also the world's leading authority in patent information and patent searching.
In 2018, the EPO received over 174 000 patent applications and granted over 127 000 patents. Its free online patent database, Espacenet, contains more than 100 million technical documents from 100 countries, and its free neural machine translation service, Patent Translate, provides instant, high-quality translation in 32 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.