European patent

 Road four-cylinder engine of czech motorcycle company Jawa.

The Convention about Granting of European Patents, also European Patent Convention (EPC), forms common law of the member states for granting of patents for inventions. Patents granted according to this Convention are called European patents.

It is an objective of the EPC to make the protection of inventions in the member states easier, cheaper and more reliable by the existence of uniform European proceedings for granting of patents on the basis of a uniform system of material patent law. The Convention is a special treaty according to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

The principles of priority right and of equal treatment of foreign applicants as of the own state citizens are applied here. Granting of A European patent can be applied for one, several or for all states of the Convention. European patent application can be filed by any natural person or legal entity, one, two or more applicants.

Proceedings are carried out in one of the three official languages English, German, French. European patent has the same effect in any state were it was granted and is subjected to the same regime as the national patent granted in this state. European patent application with accepted priority date is with regard to effects in the states of the Convention equal to the properly filed national application, including the eventual priority right claimed for the European patent application.

European patent can be obtained also by filing PCT (Euro-PCT) for all states of the European Patent Convention. Validity time of the European patent is 20 years from the day the application was filed. European proceedings about granting a patent take 3 to 5 years from the filing date of the patent application. The proceedings are   two-phase. In the first phase formal examination is carried out and a search report is prepared, and in the second phase, material examination is carried out. Especially the second phase is communication-intensive between the Office and the applicant or its patent attorney.

In case the Examination Department of the European Patent Office believes that the application and the patent being subject of this application meet requirements of the Convention for Granting of European Patent and the administrative fees are paid, the Office decides to grant the patent for the specified states of the Convention.

The decision about granting comes into force on the day the information about this decision is published in the Gazette of the European Patent Office. An earlier publication of the announcement about granting is possible on applicant's request. At the same time with the announcement about granting of the European patent the European patent specification is also published, which specification comprises description, claims and eventually also drawings.

After finalization of the proceedings, the applicant obtains as document from the European Patent Office: European letters patent (with a certificate about the states of the Convention, for which the patent on invention was granted) and European patent specification. Structure of the European proceedings about granting of a patent allows to distribute the processing fees proportionally and to consider the results of the previous phases of the proceedings. Separation of the examination from the formal and search parts allows to the applicant to consider whether to invest into further proceedings according to the result of the search report.