Call: Supply of standard software, standard maintenance and related standard services
Contractor: EPO – European Patent Office, Munich
Scope of the Framework Agreement includes:
‐ The purchase of new software
‐ The purchase of new software licences
‐ The upgrade of existing software licences
‐ The renewal of existing software licences
‐ Standard support and maintenance for new COTS products
‐ Standard support and maintenance for COTS products in the EPO’s existing software landscape
The scope also includes other products that fall into the one of the same software categories as those listed in below, namely:
• Operating Environment
• Application-Server and middleware
• Security and Protection
• Data management and Query
• Development Environment
• General workplace tools
• Business function specific
These categories are indicated by the EPO for internal purposes when ordering software.
Out of scope: The following software which requires extensive customization and development are excluded from the scope of the Framework Agreements:
• Specific software products:
o Microsoft (e.g. Office 365)
o Amazon Web Services (AWS)
• Installation of software unless it is part of the standard Maintenance provided by the SP of that product, and has been explicitly specified as required by the EPO in the corresponding RFO
• Any non-standard administrative or professional services which are not included in the standard offering of a particular COTS software product.
Background: Since 2021 the EPO has managed 170 separate commercial of-the-shelf (COTS) software contracts. The EPO strategy is to use cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) wherever this makes sense. The sole exception is for applications which would process unpublished patent data (for confidentiality reasons). As a result, client-server software, running on workstations and with a server component in the EPO data centre is increasingly the exception.
Platforms: The EPO software landscape comprises a mix of COTS and custom-built solutions (roughly split 50-50, due to the specific business the EPO is in). These are hosted on open platforms (Linux for homegrown), Windows servers (for COTS), and iOS, whereby Windows is the most prevalent for COTS applications.
End user workspace: Approximately 9.000 PC clients and 4.500 iOS devices are supported in the EPO network. Users are provided with a standard “image” based on the Microsoft stack including the MS Office suite, COTS products, and the clients of software developed in-house. Additional software packages are centrally deployed to “flagged” machines according to membership of active directory groups. The EPO has a help desk in place as the single point of contact for supporting users.