Applying for a European patent
Produced in partnership with IP Asset LLP

The following IP practice note produced in partnership with IP Asset LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Applying for a European patent
  • Obtaining a patent in the UK
  • Filing and prosecuting a European patent
  • The EPO
  • Why file a European patent application
  • Who can apply for and obtain a European patent and the role of patent attorneys
  • Fees
  • Application stage
  • First steps
  • Preliminary examination stage
  • More...

Applying for a European patent

A patent for an invention grants the proprietor the right to exclude others from using the invention within a particular jurisdiction for a limited period of time. A patent only comes into being once it has been registered—in most countries this requires the patent application to be examined by the national patent office to confirm that it satisfies the patentability requirements. The process of writing and filing a patent application and the examination of the patent application by the patent office is referred to as patent prosecution.

While patent law remains a largely national law, with national patent offices operating in each territory to examine and grant patent applications and national courts dealing with enforcement of those national patents, in some areas of the world, countries have developed regional patent offices which are able to examine and grant patents for all Member States. There are several such offices, two in Africa (ARIPO and OAPI), the Eurasian Patent Office (covering a number of ex-Soviet States), the Gulf Co-operation Office and the European Patent Office (EPO).

Despite Brexit, the UK remains part of the European patent system and can continue to be designated in European patent applications because the EPO and the European Patent Convention (EPC) (the international treaty which establishes the procedure for the granting of European patents by the EPO) are

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