European patent practice
– All applicants without a residence or place of business in a European Patent Convention (EPC) contracting state must be represented by a registered European Patent Attorney. We provide a representation service for non-Europeans who wish to retain primary responsibility for European applications.
– The “further processing” procedure provides the possibility to recover from certain missed deadlines, within a set period, upon payment of additional fees.
– Most correspondence with the European Patent Office (EPO) can be done electronically, online
Patentable subject matter – key differences from US
Statutory exclusions from patentability
Restrictive with respect to
- life forms
- business process patents
- ‘software’ patents
- methods of medical treatment
Maintenance Fees/Renewal Fees/Annuity
– First (“Year 3 renewal”) is due 24 months from international filing date
– Prior to grant, renewal fees are paid annually to the EPO
– After grant, annuity fees are payable to the national patent offices
– Annual amount increases each year
Search and Examination
– The EPO prepares a supplementary European search report including a preliminary opinion on patentability.
– Within 6 months of issuance of the search report, the Applicant must confirm that he intends to proceed further with the application, otherwise the application is deemed withdrawn and the Examination Fee is refunded.
– Deferred examination is not available.
Accelerated Examination (“PACE”)
– Upon request – no grounds for the request need be given.
– No official fee
Patent Prosecution Highway
– Provides for accelerated prosecution of a European patent based on allowed US claims.
– Can dramatically reduce the cost of prosecution before the EPO of patent applications for qualifying applications. Contact us for details.