European patent protection
Produced in partnership with IP Asset LLP
European patent protection

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

  • European patent protection
  • Representation
  • Why file a European patent application
  • Filing a European patent—application stage
  • Preliminary examination stage
  • Publication stage
  • Renewal of the European application
  • Substantive examination stage
  • Grant of the European patent
  • Validation of the European national patents on grant
  • more

This Practice Note follows on from Practice Note: Applying to patent an invention in the UK.

Patent law still remains a largely national law, with national offices operating in each territory to examine and grant patent applications and national courts dealing with enforcement of those national patents. However, 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). This Practice Note relates to the EPO.

The EPO has two main offices, Munich and the Hague, but it also has a presence in other cities such as Berlin. There are currently 38 member states (including all 28 member states of the European Union), and two extension states, plus other states with which the EPO has validation agreements.

Member States

AL—Albania AT—Austria BE—Belgium BG—Bulgaria
CH—Switzerland CY—Cyprus CZ—Czech Republic DE—Germany
DK—Denmark EE—Estonia ES—Spain FI—Finland
FR—France GB—United Kingdom GR—Greece HR—Croatia
HU—Hungary IE—Ireland IS—Iceland IT—Italy