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European Patents

Map of Europe with national flags

The European Patent Office carries out a specific European patent grant procedure. The basis is provided by the European Patent Convention (EPC).

You can apply for a European patent in 38 contracting states of the EPC. However, the patent is not uniformly valid in all contracting states of the EPC. Following patent grant, the European patent is split into individual national IP rights. They arise with the publication of the European patent in the respective contracting states of the EPC. You can choose in which states your European patent should be valid.

Any person may give notice of opposition within nine months of the publication of the grant. A European patent is revoked if important requirements for patent grant, such as patentability, are not met. The patent may also be partially revoked. It is possible to lodge an appeal from the decisions of the examining and opposition divisions with the boards of appeal established at the European Patent Office.

European patents granted with effect for the Federal Republic of Germany can also be challenged by way of a revocation action before the Federal Patent Court. The revocation action is available if there are no pending European opposition proceedings or if a notice of opposition may no longer be lodged. The action must be based on the same grounds as an opposition.

Patents in Europe

Detailed information is available on the website of the European Patent Office at www.epo.org.

Picture: iStock.com/koya79

Last updated: 14/08/18 

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