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European Patent Convention

All you need to know about the European Patent Convention

European patents are granted under the European Patent Convention, which was signed in 1973 by seven states (Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom). Today, the Convention has 38 participating member states, and additionally Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro with an extension agreement.  


The Convention was created to provide a legal framework for European patents. The European Patent Offices operations as well as its procedures are based on this document. According to the document, a European patent application may be filed before the EPO’s central office in Munich or at the other two EPO offices in The Hague or Berlin. The application may be filed in only one language.


An application is firstly formally examined, and then published. The patent holder can then request a subsequent examination. In this phase of the process the EPO examines whether the application complies with the rules set by the European Patent Convention.


The 15th edition was published in October, 2013 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the creation of the convention.


The European Patent Convention can be accessed here and under the following links provided by the EPO.


European Patent Convention
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