European Patent Convention (EPC) member countries (January, 2003)
are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland (incl. Liechtenstein), Turkey, United
Albania, Lithuania, Latvia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Romania can also be added as Extension States.
Do I need an attorney to file a EP application?
Any legal person or body may file a European Patent Application. In
addition anyone who has their principle place of business, or is resident
in any one of the contracting states may act on their own behalf before
the European Patent Office. Even though, you could
proceed with the filing of a European patent application personally,
but, since this procedure is very complex we suggest to contact an
expert in this field. Those who are not residents in a member
country must appoint a qualified representative in one of the member
Do I need only one patent for all of the member countries?
In application you have the ability to indicate which of the member
countries to cover. The application passes through centralised search
and examination stages but, upon grant, the applicant will hold a
bundle of up to 26 national patents in accordance with the designations
chosen at the filing date.
How long does a European Patent last?
A EP lasts for a maximum period of 20 years from the filing date of
Do I have to pay EP maintenance fees?
Once a patent is granted, European patent renewal fees are no longer
payable, but renewal fees are payable to the national authorities
in each of the designated states.
Do I need to translate the patent into each language of the selected
If the patent is accepted, it will be necessary to file a translation
in every selected State.
The most frequenty asked question: How much EP costs?