What is a European Patent

A European patent is a patent that is registered with the European Patent Convention and has independent nationally enforceable and revocable patent rights. When seeking a European patent it is advised that you enlist the professional services of a consultancy firm or attorney specialized in patent rights in Europe.

European Patent Explained

European patent law is based on the Munich Convention 1973 and provides regulation for all member countries including countries from out with Europe. Under this convention, an applicant seeking a European patent makes one single application for EU patent rights and this application, if approved, will provide the applicant with a patent in all member countries in a timely and efficient manner.

Applicants can only seek European patent status if the invention is new, inventive and can be applied in industry to make economic returns.

The following includes what cannot become a European patent:

  • Discoveries
  • Aesthetic creations
  • Schemes and rules
  • Methods for doing something
  • Computer software programs
  • Medical treatment

All European patent holders will have applied to and receive their rights from the European Patent Convention. On receiving European patent rights, the holder obtains full protection of their patent in all EU member states through one application. It should be noted that once granted to the holder, the rights are valid for a period of 20 years from the date of filing.

The EPC is charged with the responsibility of granting patents in Europe, and as such, the EPC also provides a regulatory framework for the use of all European patents.

It is essential that the holders use their patent in compliance with the rules set by the EPC and other applicable intellectual property standards. To ensure you are aware of the necessary compliance matters, it is advised that you seek advice from a professional consultancy firm that specializes in European patent registration, rights and requirements.

Starting Business can provide guidance with patent and trademark requirements and registration.

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