The following information is not to be construed as legal advice. Though care is invested in compiling these data, no responsibility whatsoever for completeliness or correctness thereof can be taken over.
Regarding jurisdiction of the EPO, particularly the Boards of Appeal and the Enlarged Board of Appeal, please visit the database of decisions maintained by the EPO.
Last update: 28 April 2020.
|07 April 2020||EPC Covid-19||
Generally, the Office is not accessible for the public.
Video Conferencing: The President of the EPO has decided that all Invitations to Oral Proceedings are mandatorily invitations to video conferences. No term is defined for this decision. Details please be referred to EPO's website.
All Oral Proceedings (except to those to be conducted by videoconference) scheduled up to 30 April are postponed - unless parties agree to a video conference. Parties are notified thereof. (Notice of 7 April 2020)
On the EPO's website, it is announced: "In view of the disruptions to public life caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the EPO has taken measures to safeguard users’ rights. All time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are thus extended until 04 May 2020." However, "timelimits" are only those fixed pursuant Rule 132 EPC and subject to Rule 134 EPC according to the "Notice from the European Patent Office dated 17 April 2020". Item 2 of the Notice reads:
As the state in which the European Patent Office is located the Federal Republic of Germany, like many other Contracting States, is experiencing restrictions on the movement and circulation of persons, as well as on certain services, exchanges and public life in general, which can be qualified as a general dislocation within the meaning of Rule134(2) EPC. Periods expiring on or after the date of this Notice are thus extended for all parties and their representatives to 4 May 2020. In accordance with Article 150(2) EPC this applies also for international applications under the PCT. The above period may be further extended by the publication of another notice if the dislocation extends beyond the aforementioned date.
Boards of Appeal (EPO): Oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal until 30 April 2020 . Concerned parties will be contacted accordingly with a communication.
Fee payments (Notice dated 30 March)
The extension of timelimits generally applies to due dates of paying a fee. Regarding the increase of fees of 1 April 2020, the EPO has, however, decided in favor of the applicants that the principle that the date of payment decides which schedule of fees applies will be modified: If a fee is due before 1 April, yet paid on or after 1 April 2020 (e.g. in profiting from the "Corona" extension, the amount of the fee due according to the fee schedule applicable before 1 April 2020 shall apply. Even if currently the extension date given in this Notice on EPO's website is 17 April, item 8 explicitly states that the extension is automatically adapted if the then valid extension to 17 April is moved beyond that date. Hence, due to the decision of the President extending the timelimits to 4 May, the timelimit 17 April of this rule relating to fees is deemed to be extended to 4 May as well without further notice.
Boards of Appeal (EPO): Oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal until 15 May 2020 . Concerned parties will be contacted accordingly with a communication.
|01 APR 2020||EPC||
Oral Proceedings during Examination and Opposition - by Videoconference
By decision dated 1 April 2020, the President of the EPO decided that all Oral Proceedings of which the Invitation has issued after that date (1 April) are to be held as a video conference except evidence is to be taken. Any submission during the video conference are to be filed by "means of electronic communication" (advice by the EPO: by Email - address is announced by the EPO body at the beginning of the conference - or exceptionally by fax). If a technical issue intercepts the video conference so that violation of the rights of the participants according to Art. 113 and 116 occurs, the Oral Proceedings is to be postponed. General technical doubts will not impede the conduct of the video conference. The participants are obliged to procure and install the required technical means. Only on request, representative and other persons attending on behalf of a party may participate from different locations.
It is dared to remark that the obligation to dispose of the more or less specific technical means to take part is for most representatives not an issue, however, presently simply the delay for equipment ordered right now may be several weeks, and in some locations throughout Europe the quality and capacity of internet connections are not on the level of the centre of Munich or The Hague.
|01 Sep 2019||EPC BE||
Belgium has acceded the London Agreement. It will applicable in Belgium for European patents granted on or after 1 September 2019. However, as Belgium had adapted its patent law earlier (cf. EP OJ 2016, 99), the translation requirements do not change thereby. To recall: A translation of the description of European patents "granted" (= mention of grant published) after 1 January 2017 is no more required
OJ EPO 2019/08 (2019) A71.
|1 April 2018||EP PPH||
AS of 1 November 2018, EPO will participate in the electronic exchange of priority document maintained by WIPO (DAS) which maintains a list of participating offices.(OJ EPO 2018/10 A79)
|1 April 2018||EP PPH||
OJ EPO 2018/1:|
(OJ EPO 2018/1 A3 - A5)
|1 March 2018||EP KH||
On 23 January 2017, EPO and the Cambodia agreed to allow European patents to be validated in Cambodia. The agreement enters into force on 1 March 2018. The request for validation in Cambodia is considered to be filed for any European patent application filed on 1 March 2018 and afterwards. The same applies to an international (PCT) application with the European Patent Office being designated or elected. Validation in Cambodia of patent applications filed before 1 March 2018 is not available. It is to be taken into account that the Cambodian rules of patentability apply, in particular as to patentable subject matter. E.g. pharmaceutical preparations are currently not patentable in Cambodia. Yet, a mailbox system exists under Art. 70.8 TRIPS: Such patent applications may be filed, but the examination will start only once the transition period has ended.
The fee for validation is fixed to be EUR 180. The applicable timelimit is the same as for examination fee and designation fees (the later of: a) 6 months after publication of the European search report, and b) if applicable, the timelimit for performing the acts necessary to enter the regional phase of a PCT application before the EPO).
(OJ EPO 2018/2 A15 - A16)
|11 January 2018||EP PPH||
EPO informs about continuing the PPH with patent offices of Canada, Israel, Mexico, and Singapore Generally, in providing the examination result of earlier eexamination in a participating patent office which resulted in a set of claims acceptable for grant of a patent, on the basis of this same set of claims, an acceleration of the examination by EPO may be requested. Furthermore, the examination results of the earlier examination will be duly taken into account. The corresponding request has to be filed before examination by the EPO has begun. Details have to ascertained in the individual PPH agreement published in the EPO OJ. Presently, EPO has agreed to PPH collaboration with patent office of the following countries (cf. Ancillary Regulations 2016 C.2.3):
CA, CN, IL, JP, KR, MX, SG, US
(OJ EPO 2017/12 A107 - A110)
|01 December 2017||EP||
Online payment of fees by credit will become available on 1 December 2017. Some further details:
(OJ EPO 2017/09 A72, A73)
|01 November 2017||EP||
Revised Form 1200 (entry of regional phase of a PCT application before the EPO) is available:
(OJ EPO 2017/09 A74)
|01 October 2017||EP||
PPH agreement between EAPO and EPO enteres into force on 1 October 2017. Presently, its duration will end on 30 September 2020 due to its character as a trial phase.
(OJ EPO 2017/09 A77)
|01 July 2017||EP||
Paragraph added to Rule 28 EPC:
(2) Under Article 53(b), European patents shall not be granted in respect of plants or animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process
Ratio behind is a revised interpretation of the EU Guideline 98/44: Biological processes are inherently not reproduceable and therefore not patentable (- else they would be technical).
(OJ EPO 2016 A57)
|01 May 2016||EP||
The rule that amendments of a European patent application even if filed during Oral Proceedings have to be typewritten, is replaced by an amendment of R. 82 that the opposition division requires to file pages complying with R. 49(8) within the 3 months timelimit to pay the printing fee and to file the translations of the claims. The amended rule enters into force on 1 May 2015. (Decision of the Administrative Council of 14 October 2015 CA/D 9/15)
(OJ EPO 2015/10 A73, A74)
|01 NOV 2015||EP||
(OJ EPO 2015/09 A73, A74)
|01 NOV 2015||EP MD||
European patents can be validated in Moldavia if filed from 1 November 2015 2015 on.
|01 MAR 2015||EP MA||
European patents are recognised in Morocco for European patent applications filed from 1 March 2015 on.
|01 Nov 2014||EP R164||
Additional Searches for European Regional Phases available again (R. 164 EPC)
From 1 November 2014 on, in cases where either in establishing a supplementary search report or during examination, non-unity of invention is supposed by the Search respectively Examining Division, additional search fees are asked for. In response, the applicant may decide if and for which alleged second and further inventions search fees are paid. As far as the requirement to of non-unity is reversed later on, respective additionally paid search fees are refunded.
Amended Rule 164 will apply to:
|01 APR 2014||EP R38||
24 Months Deadline for Filing Divisional is Repealed
From 1 April 2014 on, i.e. for all European patent applications still pending on that date, the 24 months deadline for filing a divisional patent application will no more apply. Merely, it will again be possible to file a divisional patent application as long as the parent patent application of a divisional patent application filed on that date the earliest is pending. However, the original aim to reduce the number of precautionarily filed divisionals may be pursued by levying an additional fee for divisional of which the parent application is a divisional by itself (amended Rule 38 EPC).
|01 JUL 2013||RS||
From 1 July 2013 on, an SPC will be available in Serbia. The request has to be filed:
A pediatric extension is not available.
Information provided by national colleagues.
|01 JUL 2013||HR||
Croatia will be a member of the EU as of 1 July 2013. From that day on, an SPC will be available. The request has to be filed:
An extension of 6 months for a pediatric pharmaceutical is available. A respective request has to be filed simultaneously or up to 2 years before expiry of the respective SPC the latest.
Information provided by national colleagues.
|01 Nov 2011||EPC FI||
Finland has acceded the London Agreement. It will applicable in Finland for european patents granted on or after 1 November 2011. :
EPOJ 2011/10 (2011) 472.
|01 Jan 2011||EPC||
If the priority of an earlier patent application is claimed, with filing the European patent application (or on entering the regional phase of a PCT application), any search report established for any such earlier patent application has to be furnished to the EPO. It is a continuing duty, hence the reports have to be filed even if they are received later on. It is not required to translate the reports. As a "search report", any official notification in relation to an earlier patent (application) qualifies by which prior art is revealed. Translations are not required.
For divisional patent application etc, reports already on file with the EPO for the parent patent application need not to be filed again.
Rule 141(3) empowers the EPO to request information about the state of the art in other patent application examination proceedings in relation to patent application pertaining to the same invention. However, such requests shall issue in isolated cases only.
Under Rule 141(2), the President may decide under which conditions the filing of a report is not required because it is available to the Office. Presently, no report has to be filed:
New Rule 70b "Information on prior art":
If no reports are filed at the point in time when the Examining Division takes over, the EPO will issue an invitation to file either any such report available or in lieu thereof a statement that no such report is available within 2 months.
Entry into force
The decision is applicable to all patent applications filed on 1 January 2011 the earliest.
More details: EP OJ 2009/12 (2009) 585.
|01 Jan 2011||EPC HU||
The London Agreement came into force in Hungary on
1 January 2011:
|01 OCT 2010||EPC RS||
Republic of Serbia (RS) will be a member of the EPC with effect from 1 October 2010. The Convention will comprise 38 members thereafter.
|01 MAY 2010||EPC AL||
Albania (AL) will be a member of the EPC with effect from 1 May 2010.
PCT Newsl. 2010/3 (2010) 2.
|01 APR 2010||EPC||
Decision of the Administrative Council of 25 March 2009:
The decision enters into force on 1 April 2010. New R. 62a,
Rule 63 as amended, rule 70 a and rule 137 as amended shall apply to
European patent applications for which the European Search Report
is drawn up after 31 March 2010.
EP OJ 2009/5 (2009) 299-304.)
|01 APR 2010||EPC||
Decision of the Adminstrative Coucil of 25 March 2009:
The decision enters into force on 1 April 2010. R. 36 as amended is applicable to divisionals filed on and after this date. In case the delay of R. 35 (1) as amended expires prior to 1 April 2010 or up to 6 months afterwards, the timelimit for filing a divisional may be filed within 6 months after 1 April 2010. R. 135 (2) is applicable to this transitional periods.
EP OJ 2009/5 (2009) 296-297.)
|01 JUL 2009||EPC SM||
San Marino (SM) will be a member of the EPC with effect from 1 July 2009.
PCT Newsl. 2009/6 (2009) 5.
|01 May 2009||EPC LT||
Lithuania deposited its instrument of
accession to the
London Agreement on 22 January 2009. As already stipulated by its national law, a translation of the specification is not required, yet a Lithuanian language translation of the claims has to be supplied.
|01 APR 2009||EPC||
Decision of 17 March 2009 of the President of the EPO concerning the inclusion of copies of prior applications of which the priority is claimed: Such copies are included free of charge in the file held by the EPO if the prior patent application is
The same applies to PCT applications entering the regional phase before the EPO. The applicant will be informed of the inclusion be the EPO. If the inclusion could not be performed, the EPO will inform the applicant and impose a timelimit to file the copy. The decision enters into force on 1 April 2009.
(Decision: EP OJ 2009/4 (2009) 236-237.)
|01 APR 2009||EPC||
A revised schedule of official fees enters into force on 1 April 2009. it is applicable to:
Further to the schedule of 1 April 2008, it introduces:
|01 JAN 2009||EPC MK||
The former Yougoslav Republic of Macedonia will be a member of the EPC with effect from 1 January 2009. Accordingly, extension to this state will no more possible since this date.
(EP OJ 2008/11 (2008) 507).
|01 APR 2008||EPC||
A new schedule of official fees is applicable to any payment made after 31 March 2008. Apart some minor increases, the following significant changes apply:
Furthermore, the reimbursement rates in case of availability of prior searches and Preliminary Examination results have been adapted. (EP OJ 2008/3 (2008) 126-141, 195-201).
|01 JAN 2008||EPC HR||
Croatia (HR) has depositend the instrument of ratification of EPC and revision 2000 on 5 october 2007 and will be a member of the EPC with effect from 1 January 2008.
(PCT Newsl. 2007/12 (2007) 1).
|01 JAN 2008||EPC NO||
Norway will be a member of the EPC with effect from 1 January 2008 - and the EPC will cover the whole EU and EFTA.
(EP OJ 2007/8-9 (2007) 461).
|13 DEC 2007||EPC EPO EPC2000|
|1 SEP 2007||EPC EPO||
As of 1 September 2007, the EPO will no more accept requests for standard and special searches. Pending orders will still be executed. Instead, the respective services of the national patent offices may be used.Details
|10 July 2007||EPC ME||
Montenegro (ME), after its becoming an independent state, is no more bound by the agreement of extension of European patents to the former Republic of Serbia and Montenegro. However, the European Patent Office is in negotiations with the authorities of Serbia and Montenegro under which conditions patents extended to and designations of the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro may be validated in Montenegro. For the time being, Serbia (RS) is considered the legal successor of the Republic of Serbia and Montenegro.
|1 July 2007||EPC KR
Since 1 July, for Korean patent applications and utility models, it is no more required to furnish a priority document if the first filing is a European patent application.
To recall: the same applies, on a reciprocal basis, for the U.S.A. and Japan. However, with regard to first U.S. filings, it is necessary to file particular request with the U.S.P.T.O. in order to comply with statutory confidentiality provisions to be observed by the Office before publication of the U.S. patent application. Else, the EPO may fail to obtain the priority document from the U.S.P.T.O. The EPO will, however, inform the applicant of this fact and set a timelimit to file the priority document.
|01 APR 2007||EPC||
After 1 April 2007, the EPO will no more handle PCT-EASY application as such, but as application filed in paper-form, the EASY data carrier will be disregarded, and a fee reduction will no more be awarded. (Communication of the President of the EPO)
(EP OJ 2007/1 (2007) 58).
|01 MAR 2007||EPC MT||
Malta (MT) deposited its instrument of accession to the EPC including the revision act 2000 on 1 December 2006 and will become a member state of the EPC with effect from 1 March 2007. Accordingly, Malta will automatically be designated in any European patent application having a filing date of 1 March 2007 the earliest. The same applies for PCT applications designating the EPC (EURO-PCT application). The number of member states of the EPC will then be 32.
(EP OJ 2007/1 (2007) 1-2).
|16 JAN 2007||EPC||
A copy of a prior application is included in the file of a European patent application (regular/regional phase PCT) without costs if the earlier application is one of the following:
The applicant will be informed about inclusion of the copy. If no copy can be obtained by the EPO, the applicant will be informed as well in due time so that he may furnish the required copy pursuant to Rule 38(3) EPC.
Decision of the President of the European Patent Office of 9 January 2007.
(EP OJ 2007/2 (2007) 94/5).
|01 May 2006||EPC||
Time for the technical preprations of the publication of European patent applications is shortened to 5 weeks as of 1 May 2006. (Decision of the President of the EPO of 25 April 2006)
(EP OJ 2006/6 (2006) 405).
|13 DEC 2005||EPC GR||
Greece deposited its instrument of ratification of the Revision Act of 29 November 2000 on 13 December 2005. As now 15 members have ratified the Act, it will enter into force two years after this date, hence on 13 December 2007 the latest. More 1 More 2
(EP OJ 2006/2 (2006) 138).
|01 JUL 2005||EPC LV||
Latvia (LV) deposited its instrument of accession to the EPC on 29 November 2004 and
will become a member state of the EPC with effect from 1 July 2005. Accordingly, Latvia will
automatically be designated in any European patent application having a filing date of
1 July 2005 the earliest. The same applies for PCT application designating the
EPC (EURO-PCT application). Reciprocally, Latvia may be designated as an
(EP OJ 2005/5 (2005) 299-301).
|01 JUL 2005||EPC||
Decision of the Administrative Council of 9 December 2004:
The modified schedule is applicable to patent applications filed on or after 1 July 2005. If a deficient search fee is paid within 6 months after that date for a patent application falling under the new regime, the EPO will issue a respective notification so that the lacking amount may still validly be paid.
A personal remark: In introducing the extended international search report, the fee for an international search fee conducted by the EPO has been almost doubled. It appears that the increase is made as a compensation for the additional work of establishing the Written Opinion on patentability. This opinion is equivalent to the Written Opinion issued within the frame of the Preliminary Examination, hence the examination report. Accordingly, I expected that the EPO would sometime appreciate the Written Opinion as an equivalent to the examination report of the Preliminary Examination and grant some reduction of the European examination fee.
However, until now, the examination fee for a European regional phase (Euro-PCT application) has not been reduced. With the present modification of the schedule of fee, European applicants whose international patent applications are mandatorily searched by the EPO, have to pay even more for the examination of the ulterior Euro-PCT application, though the examination work has already partly done. From the frog's perspective, European patent applicants seem to be punished - for what?
(EP OJ 2005/1 (2005) 5-7).
|01 APR 2005||EPC||
Communication of the European Patent Office of 22 December 2004:
(EP OJ 2005/2 (2005) 126-131).
|01 APR 2005||EPC||
|01 DEC 2004||EPC BA||
New extension state as of 1 November 2004: Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA). Extension to this state may be elected for any european patent application filed on or after this date.
(PCT Newsl. 2004/11 (2004) 1).
|01 DEC 2004||EPC LT||
New member State as of 1 December 2004: Lithuania deposited its instrument of accession on 3 September 2004. Hence, it can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 December 2004. The EPC now comprises 30 member states.
(EP OJ 2004/10 (2004) 481).
|01 NOV 2004||EPC YU||
New extension state as of 1 November 2004: Serbia and Montenegro. Extension to this state may be elected for any european patent application filed on or after this date.
(PCT Newsl. 2004/11 (2004) 1).
|01 NOV 2004||EPC IS||
New member State as of 1 November 2004: Iceland (IS) deposited its instrument of accession on 31 August 2004. Hence, it can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 November 2004. The EPC now comprises 29 member states
(EP OJ 2004/10 (2004) 479).
If the European patent application is drafted in English, only claims and abstract need to be translated into Icelandic for validation of the European patent. (BTW: The same rule applies to national patent applications). (Info from our Icelandic colleagues).
|01 APR 2004||EPC HR||
Croatia (HR) may be designated for extension of a European patent since 1 April 2004.
(EP OJ 2004/3 (2004) 117).
|01 MAR 2004||EPC PL||
New member State as of 1 March 2004: Poland deposited its instrument of accession on 30 December 2003. Hence, it can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 March 2004. The EPC now comprises 28 member states
(EP OJ 2004/1 (2004) 1/2).
|04 DEC 2003||EPC||
Promotion of online filing by reduced filing fee: for an online filed European patent application, the filing fee due amounts to EUR 90.00 only; filing a European patent application conventionally on paper incurs a filing fee of EUR 160.00
(EP OJ 2004/1 (2004) 3/4).
|01 MAR 2003||EPC RO||
New member State as of 1 March 2003: Roumania deposited its instrument of accession on 12 December 2002. Hence, it can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 March 2003.
(EP OJ 2003/1 (2003) 3/4).
|01 JAN 2003||EPC||
Decision of the President of the EPO: Revised provisions and rules
for electronic filing of patent applications: patent applications (EP and
PCT) and some other, explicitely mentioned documents may be filed
electronically. The software gratuitously furnished by the EPO is
recommended, use of another software is not excluded provided prior approval
by EPO. Native documents may also be filed in addition to the prescribed
format as a safeguard against deficiencies generated in converting the native
text/graphics/formula processor file format into the format needed for
filing. The allowed formats are published on the EPO
Other formats are possible if an indication is included where the EPO may
acquire software needed to read the files. Acquisition of the software has to
be possible without undue burden to EPO.
|01 JAN 2003||EPC HU||New member State (as of 1 January 2003: Hungary deposited its instrument of accession on 28 October 2002. Hence, it can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 January 2003. (Remark: For any PCT application filed on or after this date, the designation of the EPC automatically includes the designation of Hungary). (EP OJ 2002/11 (2002) 541/2).|
|01 DEC 2002||EPC PCT SI||
New member State as of 1 December 2002: Slovenia deposited its instrument of accession on 18 September 2002. Hence, it can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 December 2002. (Remark: For any PCT application filed on or after this date, the designation of the EPC automatically includes the designation of Slovenia).
For PCT applications, the national route has been closed, the designation of Slovenia in a PCT application filed on or after 1 December 2002 will be interpreted as a designation of the European Patent Convention (designating, inter alia, Slovenia) (EP OJ 2002/10 (2002) 463/4).
|01 JUL 2002||EPC CZ BG EE SK||
New member States (as of 1 July 2002)Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Estonia deposited their instruments of accession. Hence, they can be designated in any European patent application filed on or after 1 July 2002. (Remark: For any PCT application filed on or after that dates, the designation of the EPC automatically includes these designations). (PCT News 2002/06 (2002) 1).
|1 JUL 2002||EP||
Combination of Rules 51(4) and 51(6)Decision of the Administrative Council of 18 October 2001: The notification pursuant to Rule 51(4) and 51(6) are substantially combined to one notification pursuant to revised Rule 51 (referred to as N51 in the following). Basically, the "new" Communication pursuant Rule N51(4) contains as well the demands for complying with the requirements of the former Rule 51(6). Rule N51(6) provides that the applicant is granted the opportunity to file observations, translations of claims, and to comply with any requirement deemed necessary by the Examining Division if no amendments had been requested before. Rule N51(11) provides that the decision to grant the European patent shall state which text of the patent application constitutes the basis for the grant. Accordingly Rules 36(1), 38(5) are revised, too.(OJ EPO 2001/11 (2001) 488/91)
|1 MAR 2002||EP||
Restriction of EP as ISA/IPEA for U.S.-based applicantsNotice from the President of EPO of 26 November 2001: For PCT applications filed by a national or resident of the USA with the USPTO or IB, and for PCT applications filed with the IB by more than one applicant, where at least one applicant os a resident or a national of the USA and neither of the applicants is a national or resident of one of the member states of the EPC, the following restrictions apply:
The concerned classes of the international classification:
|3 JAN 2002||EP||
Interruption of postal service on the side of the applicant or his representativeDecision of the Administrative Council of 18 October 2001: With effect from 3 January 2002, Rule 85 is complemented by a new paragraph 5: It is now possible to remedy late receipt of a document by the EPO if it can be shown that the postal service has been interrupted by extraordinary circumstances during any of the ten days befory the expiration of the respective timelimit, like war, strike, natural calamity etc. Then, if the concerned documents are received within five days after resumption of regular postal service, they will be deemed to have been filed in time.
(OJ EPO 2001/11 (2001) 490)
|03 JAN 2002||EP||
Fees (in force since 3 January)Fees in Euro are rounded, generally downwards. Any payments to the EPO have to be made in EURO, and the EPO will only reimburse amounts in EURO. Accounts have been installed in member states not being a party of the European Currency Union. The new schedule of fees is valid since 3 January 2002. (OJ EPO 2001/11 (2001) 543).
|03 JAN 2002||EP PCT||
Expedited Preliminary Examination at reduced feeAs of 3 January 2002, The processing of international (PCT) application is expedited by introducing a modified preliminary examination procedure (precondition: international search has been conducted by the EPO as well): The first notification (the "Written Opinion") is exclusively based on the result and the assessment of pertinence of the cited documents of the search examiner. Hence, there will be a mere formal treatment by the EPO, and no examiner's work will be involved. If the applicant does not respond, the Examination Report of the Preliminary Examination will be identical to the Written Opinion (called: "rationalized examination report"), and two third of the preliminary examination fee will be reimbursed (New art. 10d RFO, valid since 3 January 2002 (OJ EPO 2001/11 (2001) 492); effect on examination for Euro-PCT application see below!).
Only if the applicant responds to the Written Opinion with arguments and/or amendments, he is implicitely requesting a "full" Preliminary Examination. Then, an examiner will actually scrutinize the application, the result of the Search Report and, of course, the response of the applicant, and will further conduct the Preliminary Examination. In this case, no reimbursement of the fee for the Preliminary Examination will occur.
As regards a follow-up regional phase before the EPO (Euro-PCT application), the reduction of the examination fee will only apply to the second alternative. If only a "formal" Examination Report of the Preliminary Examination is issued and two third of the fee for the Preliminary Examination have been refunded, the full amount of the examination fee for the European regional phase is due. (OJ EPO 2001/11 (2001) 539-542))
Remark: Suppposedly, in a hypothetical situation, where the EPO has not established the International Search Report, it is supposed that a "full" Preliminary Examination will always be conducted.
|2 JAN 2002||EP PCT||
Continued processing of Euro-PCT applicationNew Rule 108 EPC applies explicitely to more requirements (formerly, it related only to the payment of the "national fee"), it provides the issuance of one communication if any requirement mentioned has not been met, and the possibility to remedy to any such notified deficiency by preforming the omitted act and paying a surcharge, therey implicitely applying for further processing. Notably, this applies also to an omission of filing the translation of the PCT application so that the applicant has the opportunity to further prosecute his patent application. Formerly, it was necessary to apply for restitution of rights. (Decision of the Administrative Council of 28 June 2001; OJ EPO 2001/12 (2001) 588).
|2 JAN 2002||EP||
Always 31 months to file the regional phaseAs of 2 January 2002, the timelimit for entering the national phase before the EPO is always 31 months, calculated from the priority date. There is no more a distinction between the situations where the demand for Preliminary Examination is filed or not. (OJ EPO 2001/12 (2001) 564 et seq, includes the new form)
|2 JAN 2002||EP||EURO-PCT applications: as of 2 January 2002, the new form 1200 (printing date: "01.02") shall be used. The former version (printing date: "03.00") may continued to be used without any detriment. However, the version bearing the printing date "04.99" shall be used no more after January 2002 (it is specifically usable for PCT application filed before 1 July 1999!) (OJ EPO 2001/12 (2001) 564 et seq, includes the new form)|
|2 JAN 2002||EP||Decisions of the Administrative Council of 18 October 2001: Rule 25 is amended to the effect that the applicant may file a divisional application based on any pending prior European patent application. New Rule 25 is in force since 2 January 2002.|
|23 MAY 2001||PCT ISA||Already in 1999, the European Patent Office, the Swedish patent office and the Spanish patent office concluded an agreement concerning a partnership regarding their role as ISA's. Recently, an official notification has been made to WIPO that the Swedish and the Spanish patent office will not only act as an ISA where specifically designated, but also if the EPO is designated in a PCT application in regard of which the Spanish or the Swedish patent office are authorised to act as ISA. In the latter case, the EPO schedules the search task to the respective patent office, and the search is done under the responsibility of the EPO. (PCT Newsl. 2001/5 (2001) 2-3; cf. OJ EPO 1999 (1999) 66 and 431).|
|2 JAN 2002||EP PCT||
The EPO as ISA/IPEA: Modified agreement with WIPOOn 31st October 2001, a modified agreement concerning the activity of the EPO as ISA and IPEA under the PCT has been concluded. In essence, the EPO may restrict its activity for PCT applications if this is necessary for proper treatment of European patent applications. As an alternative, it may also entrust its task to industrial property offices of the member states of hte EPC. The ISA/IPEA work in these national offices has however, to be conducted under the control and responsibility of the EPO. (OJ EPO 2001/12 (2001) 601 et seq).
|01 NOV 2000||TR||Turkey accedes the EPC on 1 November 2000 and may be designated from now on (OJ EPO 2000/10 (2000) 443)|
|01 March 2000||EPC|| On 13 October 1999, the Administrative Council decided to amend the Implementing Rules and the Rules relating to Fees. The amendments enter into force on 1 March 2000. In summary: the payment modes and delays for designation fees for any newly "filed" European patent applications (incl. Euro-PCT applications (EP-regional phases of international patent applications under the PCT), divisional patent applications, and patent applications under art. 61EPC) are adapted to those of native EP applications, e. g. the timelimit is 6 months from the publication of the respective search report (the "international" publication by WIPO replaces the publication by the EPO). The provision that the inventor can waive the right to have his name published, yet not the right (and duty) to be designated, is clarified (Rule 18). Neither priority document nor translation is necessary if these documents are already available in a file of the EPO according to conditions to be established by the President of the EPO. As regards Euro-PCT applications, new Rule 107(2) clearly stipulates that the reduction of the examination fee only applies to subject matter considered in the Preliminary Examination Report. By amendment within one month after receipt of a respective communication, the application can be amended (cf. Art. 28(1) and 41(1) PCT), and the claims fee is calculated according to the number of claims after a such amendment has been applied. The amended version is also decisive for a possible ulterior complementary European Search. |
Transitional provisions: The modified rules, and particularly the new modalities of payment, pertain in almost all cases where the respective timelimits under the old rules have not expired and the respective procedural acts have not been performed on 1 March 2000. (EP OJ 1999/11 (1999) 696-700).
|03 JAN 2000 - 04 JAN 2000||EPC||The EPO is extraordinarily closed on 3 and 4 January 2000 (precautionary measure in view of the beginning of this peculiar year) (EP OJ 1999/11 (1999) 695; EP OJ 1999/10 (1999) 572).|
|01 JAN 2000||All||Happy New YEAR (even this year - - - can you still view me??)|
|01 JUL 1999||EPC||Reductions of fees for European and international (PCT) patent applications filed on or after 01 July 1999: European Search: about 20 % and International Search: about 15 %; at most 7 designation fees for member states payable (i. e. 8th and further designations gratuitous; new regulation not applicable to extension fees!) (EP OJ 1999/01 (1999) 5-8).|
|02 MAR 1999||EPC||Euro gets leading currency of fees of the European Patent Office (EP OJ 1999/01 (1999) 5 et seq.)).|
|01 APR 1998||EPC PCT CY||Cyprus becomes member of the EPC and the PCT; eligible under Chapter II PCT;|
EP OJ: Official Journal of the European Patent Office,EPO publication
PCT News: PCT Newsletter,WIPO publication No. 115 (E)
ISO country codes: Information on ISO3166