This is an accessibility statement from the European Patent Office.
The EPO strives to make its web presence as accessible as possible to people with disabilities in accordance with the guidelines issued by the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
Some parts of our digital services are more accessible than others. We aim for level "A" compliance with the WAI guidelines or higher. Many services are already "AA" compliant. Our ultimate goal is to achieve "AA" compliance wherever possible.
Measures to support accessibility
The EPO takes the following measures to ensure the accessibility of its digital services and products:
- Accessibility is included as part of our mission statement
- Accessibility is included throughout our internal policies
- Accessibility is integrated in our procurement practices
- Accessibility training is provided continually for our staff
- Clear accessibility goals and responsibilities are assigned
- Formal accessibility quality assurance methods are employed
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) define requirements for designers and developers that help to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It defines three levels of conformance: level A, level AA and level AAA. This website is partially conformant with WCAG 2.1 level AA. "Partially conformant" means that some parts of the content do not fully conform to this accessibility standard.
Additional accessibility considerations
Although our goal is to have WCAG 2.1 level AA conformance, we have also applied success criteria for level AAA:
- Image of text: we are not using any images that contain text relevant to the user, helping screen reader users who can access all non-textual content.
- No timing: no time limits for completion of tasks or processes, benefiting users who need more time to complete them.
- Three flashes: nothing flashes more than three times in a one-second period, reducing the chances of a seizures.
- Location: we provide users with a way to find their way around the website, understand the content and find related information through the breadcrumbs.
- Target size: with the exception of a very few components, the size of the clickable area of interactive elements is at least 44 by 44 pixels to ensure that target sizes are large enough for users to easily activate them and also reduce the possibility of unintentional activations.
We welcome your feedback to improve the accessibility of our services at the European Patent Office (EPO).
If you encounter accessibility barriers to digital services of the EPO, please report the problem using one of the following contact options:
- E-mail: [firstname.lastname@example.org]
- Phone: +49 (0) 89 2399 - 0
- Visitor Address: Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1, 80469 Munich - Germany
- Postal Address: European Patent Office, 80298 Munich - Germany
- Additional contact options: https://www.epo.org/service-support/contact-us.html
We cannot guarantee that we will be able to fix it immediately, but we will make every effort to do so in a reasonable time.
Compatibility with browsers and assistive technology
Digital services of the EPO are designed to be compatible with the following assistive technologies:
- The last versions of major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari).
Digital services of the European Patent Office are not fully/not compatible with:
- Internet Explorer 10 or earlier versions, and older browser versions are not supported.
Accessibility of digital services at the EPO relies on technologies to work with a combination of web browsers and any assistive technologies or plugins installed on your computer. This applies to:
These technologies are relied upon for conformance with the accessibility standards used.
Limitations and alternatives
Despite our best efforts to ensure the accessibility of digital services of the EPO, there may be some bugs and limitations. We evaluate and monitor our services on a regular basis to locate issues and resolve them as soon as possible. Please report any issues using the contact options on this page.
Known limitations and bugs for digital services of the European Patent Office:
- Contrast: Minor elements may not provide sufficient contrast of 3:1 or 4.5:1 to match WCAG 2.1 AA criteria.
- Missing alternate text or role for images: Some images may not provide alternative text or a role of none/presentation.
- Missing labels for icon buttons or form elements: Not all icon buttons or form elements may provide a correct label.
- Incorrect heading order: Some pages or content may not provide a semantically correct heading order.
- Keyboard access: Not all UI elements provide the targeted goal for keyboard access, e.g. some elements display additional secondary information only via mouseover due to technical reasons (it helps us shorten the TAB sequence). If essential information is not accessible via keyboard, please report the issue.
- Focus indicator: Focus indicators are sometimes cropped by the parent container or hidden content due to a coding bug or missing class. In some cases there may appear to be focus traps due to invisible elements, wrong styling or the focus gets lost, making the indicator invisible. Pressing TAB again until the focus indicator is visible can solve this problem. In case of incorrect styling, some browsers display the target URL of the element in focus in the bottom left corner or bottom status bar to identify a change.
- Text scaling/browser zoom: Depending on the service used, user scaled font sizes or browser zoom with high values above 150% may result in unexpected behaviour, e.g. cropping of elements or horizontal scrolling.
- Limited support for devices or viewports: Not all digital services are optimized for every combination of devices and viewports. Some of our services require a minimum viewport and display size to offer a good user experience for visitors, e.g. when a service or website is not usable to your needs on a specific device like your smartphone, we recommend switching to a desktop, laptop or a tablet device.
- Tables: Some tables may work different with keyboard navigation. We are trying to make this consistent for all of them. Furthermore, there are some calendars built with non accessible table techniques that difficult the navigation with keyboard and screen reader.
- Context change: Some links or buttons open a new browser tab or other application but although we warn the user visually, we do not do this for screen reader users. We hope to solve it as soon as possible.
- Screen readers: There are several pages where the content and/or components are not fully accessible to screen reader users. Please report any issues regarding this via the given contact options on this page or contact out support team.
European Patent Office assessed the accessibility of digital services of the European Patent Office by the following approach:
Formal approval of this accessibility statement
This Accessibility Statement is approved by:
European Patent Office
IT Cooperation Team
Date: This statement was created on [22 May 2023] based on the W3C accessibility statement generator tool.