european patent procedure

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European Patent Application Procedure

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Filing your application


European patents are granted for inventions that are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application. You must therefore be certain to keep your invention confidential until a patent application is filed.


Oulian IP will prepare a patent specification based on your Chinese application and we claim the priority benefit of a your patent application filed up to 12 months earlier.


We also have to provide the European Patent Office with information regarding your entitlement to the invention and the states which you would like to designate. Please note that this information can be provided after filing, and we will keep you informed of the requirements.

The European Search Report


Following filing, the European Patent Office carry out a search of published patent specifications and some other materials, if deemed relevant, and issue a Search Report usually within 4 months of the application date.


A Written Opinion is typically also provided by the European Patent Office Examiner, and this can form the basis of a first examination report in due course.


Once received, we will forward the Search Report to you. If you would like more detailed analysis as to the relevancy, then we are happy to provide this on receipt of your instructions.

Publication


After 18 months from the date of filing, or from the priority date if priority is claimed, your application is published, together with a copy of the search report (if established).


Once a European patent application has been published, files relating to it are available for public inspection and bibliographic data is available to the public in the European Patent Register.


If the European Patent application is direct filed (i.e. not from a PCT), then once the Search Report publishes, we have six months to request examination and to pay the examination fee and the designation fee, designating the countries covered by the European Patent Convention (EPC).

For more information, please email us using the right button to be in touch with one of our qualified French and European attorneys.

Examination


Examination must be requested and the official fees paid within 6 months of publication of the search report. Payment of a single designation fee allows you to designate all European patent member states.


A first Examination report can take one or more years to issue. Once received, we are typically allowed four months to respond. We are happy to provide as much analysis and guidance as required, or to discuss matters with a meeting if necessary.


We enter into a written dialogue with the European Patent Office and try to resolve any objections to the application made in the Examination Report. Failure to resolve objections may result in the application being refused.

Grant


Once the European Patent Office is satisfied that any objections raised have been overcome, we are informed that a European Patent will be granted.


We are then required to file translations of the claims into French, German and English, and to pay the grant and printing fees within a short time limit. The application is granted and published once these requirements have been met, or refused if these requirements are not met.


Oulian IP will handle the translations for you. It is important that good quality and accurate translations are obtained.

Validation


Following grant, there is a short period to ‘validate’ your European patent in the desired European Patent member states, which includes the majority of the EU (European Union).


Validation brings the granted European patent into force in that member state.


A translation of the claims or a translation of the whole European patent into the national language of the member state may be required, as stipulated by the London Agreement.


We have contacts with cost-effective associates in all of the EPO member states, allowing us to keep the translation costs (if required) down during the validation process following grant of your European patent.

For more information, please email us using the right button to be in touch with one of our qualified French and European attorneys.

Opposition


For up to 9 months from the date of grant, the granted European patent may be opposed at the European Patent Office by any third party.


It is possible to defend against opposition, and we can advise you on a case by case basis.

Renewal Fees


Renewal fees are payable annually from the end of the second year after filing of your European patent application to keep the application pending.


If the European patent application has been filed via the PCT route, then the PCT application counts as the European filing. As such, if the PCT application is more than two years old at the time of European regional phase entry, the first renewal fee will be payable.


Once the European patent application is granted, renewal fees then become payable in each of the states where the patent has been validated.


Oulian IP can cost-effectively pay any renewal fee to the European Patent Office or in any European Patent member state. We can also undertake payment of renewal fees in most countries around the world. Please contact us for further details.

For more information, please email us using the right button to be in touch with one of our qualified French and European attorneys.

Patent Law - Legal Texts


Through our qualified and experienced European patent attorneys, Oulian IP can fully and proactively protect your invention, giving you the patent rights to then secure your market or to obtain lucrative licence and assignment deals.


How do I know whether someone has already made my invention?
Prior to filing a new patent application, Oulian IP recommends that you make prior art searches to ascertain as far as you can the state of the art. This will help us to target the novel and inventive features of your invention. The European Patent Office (EPO) operates a basic free searchable patents database, called Espacenet. If desired, we are also able to obtain or make pre-application searches for you.


The European Patent Convention (EPC) and Implementing Regulations (click here)

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