With a European Patent it is possible to obtain patent protection in about 40 European countries on the basis of a single application. European patents are grantedby the European Patent Office (www.epo.org) in either English, French or German, its three official languages.
The advantages of a European Patent:
A European patent has the same legal effects as national patent would in its own country, in the countries for which it is granted. Every European patent goes through a substantive examination and can be obtained for countries that only have “registration-only” applications.
The duration, geographical extent, binding text and grounds for revocation are the same in all countries that have signed the European Patent convention.
The EPO advises to file for a European patent when protection in sought in four or more European countries.
Obtaining a European Patent:
A European patent application can be issued from an international application under the patent cooperation treaty (PCT).
Under the European Patent Convention, a patent is granted if the invention is new and involves an inventive step.
The cost of a European patent depends on the number of validated states and the planned term of the patent. Fees are charged, for filing and search, for the 16th claim onward, examination, grant and publishing etc. Renewal fees are payable from the third year after the date of filing onwards until the grant.
After grant, the patent must be validated in the member states of your choice. Some of these states require a translation of the patent in their official languages. After grant, renewal fees are payable to the validated states.
If your residence or principal place of business is outside Europe, you must be represented in the proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO). ARGYMA is a professional representative before the EPO.
The Unitary Patent:
The Unitary Patent will supplement and strengthen the existing centralized European patent granting system. It offers users a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement in Europe.
With the Unitary Patents protection in up to 26 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO will be possible, making the procedure simpler and more cost effective.
When will it start?
The new system is expected to start during the course of 2020.
Steps of your European Patent:
STEP 1 : FILING AND FORMALITIES EXAMINATION
This step is in charge of checking whether all the necessary information and documentation has been provided so that the application can be accorded a filing date.
STEP 2 : SEARCH
Alongside the first step, a European search report is made and sent to the applicant.
STEP 3 : PUBLICATION
Publication, normally provided with the search report, occurs usually 18 months after the filing or priority date. Applicant then has a period of 6 months front the publication of the search report to respond to it. Publication offers provisional protection in the designated states under conditions.
STEP 4 : SUBSTANTIVE EXAMINATION
After paying the examination fee, the EPO examines if the patent meets the necessary requirements for grant.
STEP 5 : GRANT
Once granted, in order for the patent to retain its protective effects in certain states, it is necessary for the patent to be validated according to national requirements.
STEP 6 : OPPOSITION
Once granted, third parties have 9 months to oppose the patent if they believe it should not have been granted.