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European Patent Application

Since 1 February 2012, a European patent application has been able to cover the following contracting states:  Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland/Lichtenstein, Turkey and United Kingdom.  Further, a European patent application can be extended to cover the following so-called extension states: Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.

In order to file an on-line European application we need:

         - Full name, address and nationality of the applicant(s).

         - Full details of the invention or a copy of the specification, claims, abstract and drawings

           to be filed.

         - Number, country and date of priority application(s) (if applicable).

In due course, to complete the formal requirements, we may need:

         - Advice as to whether any "extension states" are to be included.

         - Details of the inventor(s) and the basis for the applicant's right to the invention (e.g. date

           of an assignment).

         - Certified copy of priority document (unless supplied directly to the EPO by filing office).

         - Formal drawings, if not initially provided.


Grant and the London Agreement

A European patent is, in effect, a bundle of national patents covering the states designated and any extension states. For this, some translation of the specification may be necessary, depending upon the countries covered. The London Agreement has reduced the translation requirements and related costs. However, it has not dispensed with them altogether since not all countries have signed-up to the London Agreement, and some of those which have signed-up have retained a claims-translation requirement.

Also, translation of the claims into the other two official languages of the European Patent Office (French and German for an English language application) is a requirement for grant of a European patent.

Assuming the European patent is in English, there are no further translation requirements for the following countries:

         -  Albania

         -  France

         - Germany

         - Ireland

         - Luxemburg

         - Malta

         - Monaco

         - Switzerland/Liechtenstein

         - United Kingdom

Again assuming English is the language of the patent, the following countries require only the claims to be translated into a national language:

         - Croatia (Croatian)

         - Denmark (Danish)

         - Finland (Finnish)

         - Hungary (Hungarian)

         - Iceland (Icelandic)

         - Latvia (Latvian)

         - Lithuania (Lithuanian)

         - Macedonia (Macedonian)

         - Netherlands (Dutch)

         - Sweden (Swedish)

         - Slovenia (Slovene)

If the patent is in English, the following countries require translation of the whole specification into a national language:

         - Austria (German)

         - Belgium (French, Dutch or German)

         - Bulgaria (Bulgarian)

         - Cyprus (Greek)

         - Czech Republic (Czech)

         - Estonia (Estonian)

         - Greece (Greek)

         -  Italy (Italian)

         -  Norway (Norwegian)

         -  Poland (Polish)

         -  Portugal (Portuguese)

         -  Romania (Romanian)

         -  San Marino (Italian)

         -  Serbia (Serbian)

         -  Slovakia (Slovak)

         -  Spain (Spanish)

         -  Turkey (Turkish)