It is important to register a patent as it gives exclusive rights over your intellectual property. No one else can make, sell, offer for sale, use, or import any product or service that is based on your invention. You can give someone permission to temporarily use your invention.
To understand the patent registration process in Europe, let us discuss it in detail.
Every country in Europe follows a first-to-file system, which means that anyone who files for a patent first will receive registration and rights over the invention. To register a patent in Europe, the applicant can file an application online through European Patent Office (EPO).
The application can also be filed under Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) or European Patent Convention (EPC).
Europe grants a patent to any invention that is new and revolutionary, be it technological or through a process. It is possible that some countries in Europe might have a slightly different view what can be patented, in respect to each country’s law. There are two different types of patents in Europe that include utility patent and invention patent. To ensure successful patent registration, there are several requirements that you must understand beforehand. These include:
Inventive: This means that if, an expert with average skills in the technical field is concerned, the said invention is neither obvious nor obviously derived from the state of the art (previously known). It can also include the design of your invention. This will ideally include a prototype as well, along with illustrations of the invention.
Novelty: If the invention is not new, it will not be eligible to obtain a patent. It should be something that no one knew of except the inventor. It should never be in the public domain before filing.
Utility/Industrially Applicable: The industries should be able to apply or use the invention easily. The invention should also do what it claims as its function.
There are different inventions that are not eligible for a patent, which include mathematical algorithms or models, artistic creations, plans or schemes, mental concepts or processes, principles or theories, treatment related to animals and humans, and plant varieties (there are other ways to protect your invention related to plants).
There are two types of patents:
Conducting a search is mandatory for registering a patent in Europe. A search is recommended to be requested at the time of filing rather than at a later stage. This will also enable you to understand the possible rejections for patent applications.
To register for a patent in Europe, the application and all of its content are recommended to be in French, German, or English. Applications for a European patent may be filed in any language, but the translation of the application into one of the official languages must be submitted within two months from the filing date. After the decision to grant a patent is issued, the patent claims must be translated into two other official languages. The application requirements are:
Once the formal requirements are completed and all required documents are submitted, the Patent Office will issue a formal and legal examination notice formally accepting the application. A request for the settlement of the examination fees within 90 days from the date of receiving the notification about positive results of the formal examination will also be issued (if not already paid).
For a substantive examination, the applicant must file a request within 6 months of the search report.
If the application gets accepted and there are no objections from any party, it gets published in the Official Gazette. This is done for 90 days.
Any opposing party can file an opposition against the patent application. The applicant must provide proofs of arguments before the authority in due time to avoid cancellation.
If the objections are handled and there are no more issues, the patent gets granted and a notice of allowance is given to the applicant.
The entire patent process takes around 3-5 years on average but can take even longer depending on the legalities revolving the patent.
The cost of obtaining a patent may vary depending on how complex your invention is and how it is involved with legalities. The cost of obtaining a patent in Europe ranges from $500 to $5500, but can increase if there are intricacies involved.
Patents in Europe are valid for 20 years from the date of filing. The term of the European patent is 20 years from the filing date. The official grant fee must be paid within four months from the EPO communication.
Annuities apply to pending applications and are payable from the third year of the filing date.
If the maintenance fees are not paid, an additional surcharge must be paid along with the late payments within 6 months (grace period) otherwise the registration will be canceled.
At Patent International, we provide hassle-free Patent services catered to your needs, in compliance with the international requirements and standards. Patent registration in Europe doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s why Patent International is here to assist with all of your intellectual property needs.
*What to do? How to do it? When to do it? Will it work?*
If these are the questions that come to your mind when thinking of registering a Patent, you have come to the right place. We, at Patent International, answer these questions and more! Offering multiple Patent services, we guarantee client satisfaction. For expert advice and consultation, contact us now!