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EU implements revised patent convention

Posted: 14 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EU patent convention? patent protection? patent application?

The European Patent Office (EPO) has carried out the revised European Patent Convention (EPC) that governs patent applications in the 32 European Union member states.

The original agreement was established in 1973 and the revised version reflects updates in law, while allowing for more revision through adoption by the European Patent Organization's Administrative Council. Previously, member states were required to hold full diplomatic conferences on such changes.

With the revised version, patent applications can now be filed in any language, although English, French, or German translations will be required. Applicants can also restrict the scope of their patents in central proceedings and those restrictions will hold for all member states.

"The new convention is a further milestone in international patent law in Europe," EPO president Alison Brimelow, said in a statement. "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 EPO said the new system would provide applicants with a simpler process, reduced costs, and more legal certainty. It also allows redress when examination deadlines are missed, while making sure the missed deadlines don't delay overall processing.

The EU states agreed in 1998 to overhaul the convention. In November 2000, member states signed the EPC 2000 final act, and decided that the revised text would take effect two years after the 15th member state acceded. Greece became the 15th state exactly two years ago.

The EPC's 32 contracting states have acceded to the new convention, so have Norway and Croatia, which are due to join the EPO by Jan. 1, 2008.

- K.C. Jones
InformationWeek




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