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European Patents FAQ

Which are the member countries?
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 Kingdom.

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 countries.

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 the application.
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 States?
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?
Please read approximately costs of European Patent
 
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