INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN EPO
The European Patent Office (EPO) grants European patents covering the Contracting States to the European Patent Conventions and several other states that have concluded the extension and validation agreements with the EPO. There are twenty-six (26) member states, namely, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, and Sweden. Additionally, countries including Switzerland, Croatia, Monaco, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro - also have agreements with the EPO.
Most member states have their national trademark offices as well, which register patents nationally.
Patent applications can be filed before a national patent office or before the EPO.
The types of patents that can be filed include European Patent, National Patent, and Unitary Patent.
Priority can be claimed no later than twelve (12) months after filing of the national patent application.
Product patent and process patent are the two types of patent that can be protected in EPO.
Utility model registration is available in some countries.
Notice of opposition can be filed within nine (09) months of the grant being mentioned in the European Patent Bulletin.
The standard term of a European patent is twenty (20) years from the date of filing.
The renewal fees are payable to the European Patent Office concerning the pending European patent applications in respect of the third year from the date of filing. These fees are paid in advance of the year in which they are due (such that the renewal fee for the third year falls due two years from the date of filing) and fall due on the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the date of filing.