European patents allow protection of an invention in selected member states of the European Patent Convention.
Proceedings for granting the patent are executed before the European Patent Office (EPO). After the EPO issues a decision to grant, the patent has to be validated in selected member states.
The following chart illustrates the most important elements of a typical Euro-PCT procedure lasting 5 years.
Prosecution if national phase of PCT application before the European Patent Office
For an average grant time of 4 years after filing at the EPO
Amendments to application – upon filing the European patent application, certain amendments, which do not extend the subject matter of the application, can be introduced. The most typical amendments relate to limitation of the number of claims, due to additional claims fee for each claim above 15.
Filing procedure – necessary documents:
- PCT application details
- Amendments to application (if needed)
- Authorization (Power of attorney) – can be provided after filing
The following fees are payable upon filing: filing fee, search fee
Requesting examination – a request for examination, together with examination and designation fees, has to be filed until 31 months from the priority date or 6 months after publication of the ISR, whichever term expires later.
Renewal fees payment – renewal fees are payable each year for pending applications at the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the date of filing of the PCT application.
European supplementary search report – the EPO prepares a search report supplementary to the ISR, comprising an opinion on patentability.
Reply to search report – under new rules introduced in 2010, if the opinion accompanying the European search report mentions any deficiencies of the application, it is compulsory to prepare a reply.
Examination report – is based on the reply of the Applicant to the European search report. If the reply complies with all issues raised by the Examiner, a decision to grant is issued.
Patent grant procedure – after a decision to grant a European patent is issued, the following formalities have to be completed:
- Payment of the grant fee
- Filing translation of claims into two other official languages of the EPO (i.e. French and German if the application is prosecuted in English)
Validation in designated states – in all states in which the patent is to be protected, validation procedure must be performed. Some countries, the members of a London Agreement, require only payment of validation fee and possibly filing translation of claims. Other countries require payment of validation fee and filing translation of full specification into the official language of that country. We provide full validation service in all EPC member states via our associated European patent firms.
For more details, as well as a complete fee schedule, please send us an e-mail email@example.com or fill-in the contact form.