For a list of contracting states: see below.
For 38 European Countries today the entire patent grant process is centralised and therefore standardised from filing of the patent application up to the grant of patent by the European Patent Convention (“EPC”). The European Patent Office (“EPO”) grants a European patent which is basically valid without prerequisites in the contracting states, although in various countries translations of the patent into the language of that country must be filed.
Opposition can be filed against the European Patent within 9 months from the date of grant. The opposition is pre-dominantly substantiated by prior art newly submitted by the opposing party, on which basis the granted patent is re-quested to be revoked or restricted.
Once granted, the European Patent is equivalent to a national patent in each of the contracting states. This means that after grant, the European Patent is broken down into national patents according to the EPC and national law of the contracting states. However, a centralized patent court for European patents will be established to go away from the varying national traditions with regard to validity or in-fringement.
In 2011 the EPA received 244,437patent applications.
At the end of 2008 the EPA had over 6,600 employees.
Contracting States of the EPÜ
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia