New Convention for European Patents Enters into Force

13 Dec 2007

MUNICH - The revised European Patent Convention (EPC) entered into force on December 13, 2007, providing Europe with a new legal framework for patent protection, a press release by the European Patent Office (EPO) stated.

“The new Convention is a further milestone in international patent law in Europe,” said President of the EPO Alison Brimelow. “It simplifies access to Europe-wide patent protection and makes procedures before the EPO easier for applicants and patent proprietors, while maintaining the Office's reliable structures and high quality standards.”

The Convention governs the granting of European patents by the EPO and applies throughout the 32 member states of the European Patent Organization.

The original Convention dates back to 1973. The revised version takes account of significant developments in international patent law and thus is an outstanding example of efficient harmonization in international Intellectual Property protection.

“The new EPC can also be adapted to new legal developments, in particular to future Community law, more easily than the old convention,” Brimelow added.

The revised EPC strengthens applicants' rights; patent applications can be filed in any language, though subsequently a translation has to be submitted in English, French or German. Means of redress are available in case time limits are missed during the examination procedure, and they do not cause any delays in proceedings. The limitation procedure lets proprietors restrict the scope of their patents of their own accord, in central proceedings before the EPO and with effect for all the contracting states.

All 32 current EPC contracting states have now acceded to the new convention, together with Norway and Croatia, which are due to join the European Patent Organization on January 1, 2008.



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