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European Patent Registration Procedures

Updated:2018-10-22 16:10:10    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:171

European patent registration can be filed with the European Patent Office (EPO). Patents confer the right to prevent third parties from making, using or selling the invention without their owners' consent. If you have either a residence or a place of business within the territory of an European Patent Convention (EPC) contracting state you are not obliged to be represented by a professional representative (European patent attorney). If you are a non-resident applicant, you may file a European patent application on your own behalf but must appoint a professional representative and act through him afterwards.

How to Apply for a European Patent
First, it is important to know what inventions and patents are. An invention can be, for example, a product, a process or an apparatus. To be patentable, it must be new, industrially applicable and involve an inventive step. The following indicates how to apply for a European patent.

1. File the application
The EPO accepts applications under the EPC and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). If you are seeking protection in only a few countries, it may be best to apply direct for a national patent to each of the national offices.

2. Formalities examination
The first step in the European patent granting procedure is the examination on filing. This involves checking whether all the necessary information and documentation has been provided, so that the application can be accorded a filing date.

3. Search
While the formalities examination is being carried out, a European search report is drawn up, listing all the documents available to the Office that may be relevant to assessing novelty and inventive step.

4. Publication
The application is published - normally together with the search report - 18 months after the date of filing. Applicants then have six months to decide whether or not to pursue their application by requesting substantive examination.

5. Substantive examination
After the request for examination has been made, the European Patent Office examines whether the European patent application and the invention meet the requirements of the European Patent Convention and whether a patent can be granted.

6. Grant of a patent
If the examining division decides that a patent can be granted, it issues a decision to that effect. A mention of the grant is published in the European Patent Bulletin once the translations of the claims have been filed and the fee for grant and publication have been paid. The decision to grant takes effect on the date of publication.

The European patent grant procedure takes about three to five years from the date your application is filed. It is made up of two main stages. The first comprises a formalities examination, the preparation of the search report and the preliminary opinion on whether the claimed invention and the application meet the requirements of the EPC. The second involves substantive examination.

7. Opposition
After the European patent has been granted, it may be opposed by third parties - usually the applicant’s competitors - if they believe that it should not have been granted.

Required Information
Applications can be filed at the EPO in any language. However, the official languages of the EPO are English, French and German. Basically, a European patent application consists of:
(1) a request for grant;
(2) a description of the invention;
(3) Claims;
(4) drawings (if any);
(5) an abstract.

Validity of a European Patent
The maximum term of a European patent is 20 years from its filing date. The patent may lapse earlier if the annual renewal fees are not paid or if the patent is revoked by the patentee or after opposition proceedings. In certain cases (medical or plant protection product patents) it is possible to extend the period of protection.

Contact Us
If you have further inquires, please do not hesitate to contact Tannet at anytime, anywhere by simply visiting Tannet’s website, or calling Hong Kong hotline at 852-27826888 or China hotline at 86-755-82143422, or emailing to You are also welcome to visit our office situated in 16/F, Taiyangdao Bldg 2020, Dongmen Rd South, Luohu, Shenzhen, China.

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