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EUROPEAN PATENT

European Patent applications are regional applications and in case the registration procedure is brought to a successful conclusion by competent authorities, they shall provide protection in countries selected from a total of 44 different states including 38 member states, 4 validation states and 2 extension states with validation.

European patent applications are examined and filed directly to European Patent Office (EPO), by the experienced European Patent Attorneys of Grup Ofis.

After the registration is announced in the European Patent Bulletin, validation procedures are to be carried out in selected countries within 3 months of the announcement date of registration. Failure in filing validations with countries within the time specified shall render European Patent right invalid. Accordingly, patent protection shall be provided only in countries in which an entry has been filed within the specified period of time, yet in countries where no entries were filed, applicants shall not be able to claim any rights. Applicants will not be able to file entries with countries that were not involved in the list of selected states at the end of the 3-month validation period.

The Annual fee payments for European Patent applications commence on the third year (application date + 2 years) as of the application date for each document filed. This transaction should be performed in order to maintain the record of patent application's (even if its registration procedure is yet to be completed) registration at the European Patent Office. Applications shall be considered withdrawn in case their annual fee payment is not rendered. Annual fees are to be paid to the European Patent Office until the acquisition of European Patent registration. After the acquisition of European Patent registration, applicants continue to pay these annual fees to countries where entries have been filed.

European Patent applications shall go through the following procedures until they reach the grant stage:

  • Application
  • Formalities Examination
  • Search Request
  • Examination Request
  • Publication of the Grant Decision
  • Validation (Validity Register in Member States)

 

Application

Descriptions, claims and figures to be used for the European patent application should be in one of the official languages of European Patent Office which are English, French and German. Accordingly, if the specifications drafted for the application is not in one of these languages, a translation shall be necessary.

Formalities Examination

After the patent application has officially been filed, European Patent Office performs a formalities examination on the application. If the examination results return with any irregularities or if anything is missing, EPO will issue a written notice to Grup Ofis and will expect the correction of these deficiencies in a specified time period.

Search Request

After the completion of formalities examination, EPO experts will commence an examination of novelty on the application and will perform a comparison between the subject matter application and resembling patent documents and written instruments. Subsequently, obtained results are forwarded to Grup Ofis as a report. Accordingly, the inventor will be notified after Grup Ofis conducts an analysis on the forwarded report. Since the search request is submitted together with the application, no additional charges will be incurred during this process.

Average Duration: 10 months (following the application date)

Examination Request

If there are any irregularities or negative remarks in the search report of the patent document, a counter-opinion shall be drafted, and a revision shall be performed on the patent claims and subsequently an examination request shall be filed which is the next stage in the patent application. If there are no irregularities or no negative remarks in the search report of the patent document, there is no need for drafting a counter-opinion or for revising the patent claims and filing only the examination request will suffice.

The examination stage is where the decision for the registration of the patent document is rendered.

If the expert conducting examination detects any irregularities or makes any negative remarks, these shall be reported to Grup Ofis and the inventor shall be asked for their opinion accordingly. There are no limitations for the EPO expert to ask for the inventor's opinion and once the inventor's opinion is received by the EPO, experts will come to a positive or a negative decision. 

Average Duration: 1-1,5 Years

Publication of the Grant Decision

Grup Ofis shall be informed of the EPO’s intention to grant for the said patent application. At this stage, a fee for grant will be paid and the claims for the application will be translated into two other official languages of EPO. If all the requirements are met, EPO will publish the decision to grant in the official bulletin.

At this juncture, third parties shall be accorded the right of opposition for the European Patent of which the decision to grant is published in the respective EPO bulletin. If there are any third parties who oppose to the grant decision of the subject matter of the patent document, these petitions for objection shall be collected and forwarded to the applicant or his representative.

In this case, a statement shall be prepared by means of drafting a counter-opinion and it shall be filed for the expert's examination. After the statement is issued, decisions involving the amendment of claims and/or specification or limitation or performing a revision on drawings as well as an annulment decision may be issued for the said application.

Duration for the Announcement of Patent Registration: 9 Months

Duration for Counter-Opinion Submission: 3 Months

Validation

As the decision to grant is published in EPO bulletin, the applicant shall have three months to file validation to member states.

Duration for Validation: 3 months from the publication of European Patent registration

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