The European Patent Office

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1 The An introduction to the EPO and the European patent system Heidrun Krestel Administrator Events, training, publications June 2016

2 Contents Basics About us Granting and publishing patents The unitary patent Statistics Contact 2

3 The patent system Reveal the invention to the public Patents Get the exclusivity The patent office Publishing Office Examining and granting 3

4 An incentive for economic growth Makes the latest technological knowledge available to the public Inspires further innovation Prevents duplication of R&D Helps identify new partners and allows licensing Gives patent holders time to recoup their development costs 4

5 Patentability Patents are granted for inventions in all fields of technology To be patentable, inventions must be new involve an inventive step be industrially applicable They must relate to a product, process, apparatus or use. 5

6 Contents Basics About us Granting and publishing patents The unitary patent Statistics Contact 6

7 Our mission As the patent office for Europe, we support innovation, competitiveness and economic growth across Europe through a commitment to high quality and efficient services delivered under the European Patent Convention. 7

8 Our history October 1973 Diplomatic Conference in Munich Signature of the European Patent Convention (EPC) by 16 countries Entry into force of the EPC in 7 countries Foundation of the European Patent Organisation Foundation of the Celebration of 40 years of the EPC More on 8

9 Today European member states Belgium Germany France Luxembourg Netherlands Switzerland United Kingdom Sweden Italy Austria Liechtenstein Greece Spain Denmark Monaco Portugal Ireland Finland Cyprus Turkey Bulgaria Czech Republic Estonia Slovakia Slovenia Hungary Romania Poland Iceland Lithuania Latvia Malta Croatia Norway Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia San Marino Albania Serbia 2 European extension states Bosnia-Herzegovina Montenegro 2 Validation states Morocco Republic of Moldova 9

10 Our status Second-largest intergovernmental institution in Europe Not an EU institution Self-financing, i.e. revenue from fees covers operating and capital expenditure 10

11 Structure of the European Patent Organisation European Patent Organisation Administrative Council The legislative body is made up of delegates from the member states supervises the activities of the Office appoints the President votes on the Office's budget The executive body is responsible for searching, examining and publishing patent applications is responsible for holding opposition proceedings is responsible for appeal proceedings before the boards of appeal 11

12 Our five locations in Europe Headquarters Liaison office with the EU 12

13 Our staff Munich The Hague Berlin Vienna Brussels Total Around 60% are patent examiners Source: EPO data on

14 Contents Basics About us Granting and publishing patents The unitary patent Statistics Contact 14

15 Three possible routes to file a patent Route National European International Via National offices or national offices Valid in One country Up to 38 countries + 2 extension states + In brief Applications are filed with the relevant national office and are valid for that state only 2 validation states One single application in DE/EN/FR for all EPC contracting states Same legal effects as national patents International Bureau or or national offices Up to 148 countries An international patent procedure, not an international patent After the international phase, applicants can choose to enter the national/regional phase in various states 15

16 Three ways to start the European procedure European route European route Applicant files a direct European application = 1st filing National route National route Applicant files a national application Applicant files a European application = 2nd filing 1) European search and examination procedure International route International route Applicant files a PCT application Application enters European phase 1) By claiming priority of an earlier application filed with a national office within 12 months. 16

17 Basic steps in the European grant procedure Filing Search Examination Grant Opposition Appeal Publication of the application and search report Publication of the patent specification 17

18 Contents Basics About us Granting and publishing patents The unitary patent Statistics Contact 18

19 Objectives of the unitary patent A less expensive and less cumbersome patent system for Europe Facilitates access to patent protection for SMEs and research centres Makes Europe more attractive for innovation and investors Boosts Europe's competitiveness 19

20 The unitary patent and the EPO member states Unitary patent states Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Sweden United Kingdom Other EPO member states Spain Iceland Switzerland Norway Turkey Monaco San Marino Liechtenstein Croatia Serbia Albania Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 20

21 Basic principles of the unitary patent Based on a European patent granted by the EPO under the EPC Unitary effect extends to the 26 EU member states currently participating, at the patent proprietor's request Registered by the EPO in one single administrative step An additional option for patent proprietors, alongside the existing European and national patent systems Can be combined with the European patent to cover up to 42 countries* Uniform litigation system *) The 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, plus two extension states (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro), plus two validation states (Morocco, Republic of Moldova) 21

22 Contents Basics About us Granting and publishing patents The unitary patent Statistics Contact points 22

23 Total European patent applications in % Applications are the files for which applicants have decided to request a European patent from the EPO. They are a direct measure of the explicit interest of innovating firms to assert their patent rights on the European technology market (Direct European applications and international (PCT) applications entering the European phase). 23

24 Technical fields with the most applications in 2015 TOP Change 1 Medical technology % 2 Digital communication % 3 Computer technology % 4 Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy % 5 Transport % 6 Measurement % 7 Organic fine chemistry % 8 Engines, pumps, turbines % 9 Biotechnology % 10 Pharmaceuticals % Analysis based on European patent applications filed with the EPO (Direct European applications and international (PCT) applications entering the European phase). 24

25 Contents Basics About us Granting and publishing patents The unitary patent Statistics Contact 25

26 Need more information? Visit Follow us on twitter.com/epoorg Contact us via 26

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