European Patent

A European patent may cover all or some of the contacting states. Currently the states are:

  • Albania, Austria
  • Belgium, Bulgaria
  • Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland, France
  • Greece, Great Britain
  • Hungary
  • Ireland, Iceland, Italy
  • Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg
  • Macedonia, Matla, Monaco
  • Niederlande, Norwegen
  • Netherlands, Norway
  • Poland, Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Slovakia
  • Turkey

A European patent confers on its proprietor, in each contracting state for which it is granted, the same rights as would be conferred by a national patent granted in that state. However, this is a single, uniform filing procedure, not a uniform European patent. After granting the patent, the European Patent Office (EPO) turns it over to the contracting states, which each handle it as a national patent.

Any infringement of a European patent is dealt with by national laws, and a plea of nullity has to be requested according to the specific national law.

Notwithstanding, an inventor still can use the old national routes and file a national patent application in countries, in which he is doing or is planning to do business.