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European Patent Application Guide

Updated:2018-1-25 16:25:41    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:79

European patent application guide provides basic information about the steps involved in the European patent granting procedure. Before applying for a patent, you should make sure that this is the best option for your invention. Patents protect technical inventions. They are valid in individual countries, for a specified period. Patents confer the right to prevent third parties from exploiting an invention for commercial purposes without authorization.

I. Advantages of a European patent
The European Patent Convention makes it possible to obtain patent protection in about 40 European countries on the basis of a single application (see map on next page). The applicant selects the countries in which he wants protection.

European patents are granted by the European Patent Office in a centralised and thus cost-effective and time-saving procedure conducted in either English, French or German, its three
official languages.

They have the same legal effects as national patents in each country for which they are granted. Every European patent undergoes substantive examination and can be obtained for countries which otherwise have "registration-only" systems, thus providing strong protection.

The term, scope of protection, binding text and grounds for revocation of European patents are the same for all contracting states to the European Patent Convention.

II. What can be patented in Europe
Under the law of the European Patent Convention, patents are only granted for inventions that are new, that involve an inventive step and that are industrially applicable. An invention meets these requirements if it was not known to the public in any form prior to the date of filing or to the priority date, was not obvious to a skilled person and can be manufactured or used industrially.

Discoveries, mathematical methods, computer programs and business methods as such are not regarded as inventions. Surgical and therapeutic procedures along with diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body are excluded from patentability. New plant or animal varieties are completely excluded from patentability. The European Patent Convention does not, of course, recognize inventions whose commercial exploitation would be contrary to "ordre public" or ethical principles, such as means of cloning human life or the use of human embryos for commercial and industrial purposes.

III. How to get a European patent
All the contracting states to the European Patent Convention offer the possibility, as a first step, of applying for a national patent. Filing an application with a national patent office has the advantage that entry to the procedure is relatively cheap and that applicants can deal with a patent authority in their own language. If they decide that they also need protection in other countries, they have twelve months from the date of first filing to file applications for the same invention elsewhere.

They can claim the priority of the date of first filing for such subsequent applications. A European patent application can claim the priority of a national application or, as is less commonly the case, may itself be a first filing.

A European application can also be derived from an international application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This treaty offers a simplified patent application procedure for 148 countries worldwide. It enables inventors to file a single international application designating many countries, instead of having to apply separately for national or regional patents. In this international phase, an international search and - on request- international preliminary examination are performed. In the national or regional phase, the patent granting procedure is then carried out by the relevant national or regional patent offices, for example the European Patent Office.

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