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European Patent Basics

Updated:2018-5-16 15:54:20    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:332

Basic information about A European Patent
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A European patent can be an easier and cheaper alternative to obtaining individual national patents in the countries which are members of the European Patent Convention (EPC). A European patent gives its owner the same rights as a national patent in each country for which it is granted.

Usually, when a European patent application is made, it will claim priority from an earlier patent application for the same invention, for example an earlier UK patent application. In order to claim priority, the European patent application must be filed no later than 12 months after the earlier application with certain limited exceptions. The claim to priority must be made within 16 months of the filing of the earlier application.

I. Who can apply for a European Patent
A company or an individual can apply for a European patent. They will have to confirm that they own the invention to be granted a patent.

An application for a European patent can be made directly by you, or you can authorize a European Patent Attorney to make the application on your behalf. European Patent Attorneys are professionally qualified people who are experienced in dealing with the European Patent Office (EPO) and the application procedure.

II. How to apply for a European Patent
To obtain a European patent an application is made to the EPO, though filing is usually via the UK Patent Office.

An application for a European patent must contain:
(1) the name and address of the applicant(s);
(2) a request for a European patent;
(3) a description of the invention - preferably with drawings;
(4) one or more claims to the invention, defining the scope of protection that you are seeking;
(5) an abstract giving a brief summary of the invention;
(6) a request for a search.

The relevant payment must also be paid to the EPO at the time of filing the application. On receipt, the application is given a filing date and a number, and the EPO sends you a receipt.

III. How long does a granted patent stay valid
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.

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