EPO – European Patent Organisation

The European Patent Organisation (EPO) is an intergovernmental organisation established on 7 October 1977 in pursuant of the European Patent Convention (EPC) 1973

EPO has following member states:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Switzerland
  5. Cyprus
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Germany
  8. Denmark
  9. Estonia
  10. Spain
  11. Finland
  12. France
  13. United Kingdom
  14. Greece
  15. Croatia
  16. Hungary
  17. Ireland
  18. Iceland
  19. Italy
  20. Liechtenstein
  21. Lithuania
  22. Luxembourg
  23. Latvia
  24. Monaco
  25. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  26. Malta
  27. Netherlands
  28. Norway
  29. Poland
  30. Portugal
  31. Romania
  32. Serbia
  33. Sweden
  34. Slovenia
  35. Slovakia
  36. San Marino
  37. Turkey

Requests for the grant of a European patent must be filed on the form prescribed by the European Patent Office (EPO Form 1001). This should be accompanied by a “Designation of the inventor” form (EPO Form 1002). An “Authorisation” (EPO Form 1003) may also be required.

European patent applications must contain:

  • European patent grant request on the prescribed form (EPO Form 1001)
  • The details and the description of the invention
  • One or more claims
  • Any drawings which have been referred to in the description or the claims
  • An abstract of the invention

The European and national patent grant procedures exist in parallel. When seeking patent protection in one or more EPC contracting states the applicant has a choice to choose either to follow the national procedure in each state or to take the European route. The EPO confers protection in all the contracting states which the applicant designate in a single procedure.

If the registration of the patent of invention is required in one particular country then it is better to apply for that country only through national patent office of the country concerned.

The maximum term of a European patent is 20 years from its filing date. The patent may lapse earlier if the annual renewal fees are not paid or if the patent is revoked by the patentee or after opposition proceedings.

English, French or German are the EPO’s Official Languages. European patent application may be filed in any language. However, if the language is not one of the EPO’s official languages then to file a translation in one of the official languages within two months of filing the application is required. If the translation is not filed in due time, the EPO will invite the applicant to correct this deficiency within two months. The official language into which the application is translated constitutes the language of the proceedings and cannot be changed at a later stage. Failing to file the translation in due time in reply to the EPO’s invitation will be deemed withdrawal of application. In such a case applicant may request re-establishment of rights under Article 122 EPC.

The European Patent Register is the place where the European Patent Office stores all the publicly accessible information on European patents and patent applications in the various stages of the grant procedure. The patent search at EPR is also possible.

European Patent Register is also accessed to:

  • Check the status of an application at EPO
  • Grant of European patent to application or stage of grant
  • Checking the oppositions filed against the patent
  • To check correspondence between the EPO and a patent applicant
  • Access patent family and legal status information
  • Find and download data

Below is the list of the Patent Offices of  EPO member countries:

  1. Albanian Patent and Trademark Office
  2. Austrian Patent Office
  3. Bulgaria – Bulgarian Patent Office
  4. Belgian Patent Office (Ministry of Economic Affairs)
  5. Croatian Patent Office
  6. Czech Republic – Industrial Property Office
  7. The Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver (D.R.C.O.R.) of the Republic of Cyprus
  8. Danish Patent Office
  9. Estonia – The Estonian Patent Office
  10. Oficina Española de Patentes y Marcas
  11. National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland
  12. Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (France)
  13. German Patent and Trademark Office / Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt
  14. Greek Industrial Property Organisation
  15. Hungarian Intellectual Property Office
  16. The Icelandic Patent Office
  17. Irish Patents Office
  18. Italian Patent and Trademark Office
  19. Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia
  20. Information about patent law in Liechtenstein
  21. The State Patent Bureau of the Republic of Lithuania
  22. Service de la Propriété Intellectuelle (Luxembourg)
  23. Malta Industrial Property Registration Directorate
  24. The State Office of Industrial Property of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  25. Direction de l’Expansion Économique – Division de la Propriété Intellectuelle (Monaco)
    Octrooicentrum Nederland (The Netherlands Patents Office)
  26. Norwegian Patent Office
  27. Patent Office of the Republic of Poland
  28. Portuguese Patent Office
  29. Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks
  30. Patent and Trademark Office of the Republic of San Marino
  31. Republic of Serbia – Intellectual Property Office
  32. Slovak Republic – Industrial Property Office
  33. Slovenian Intellectual Property Office
  34. Swedish Patent and Registration Office
  35. Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property
  36. Turkish Patent Institute
  37. United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office

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