Prosecution Of European Patent Applications
The procedure for the grant of a European patent embodies the following main procedural steps:
- European patent application
- Examination on filing and as to formal Requirements
- Search relating to the state of the art
- Publication of application
- Examination of application
- Grant of patent
- Publication of patent specification
The grant of the patent may be followed by Opposition, Limitation or Revocation procedures.
Search and filing fees must be paid upon filing the application.
It is possible to file a European application with reference to a previous application or file the claims on a later date than the filing date of the application.
The European patent application can be filed by anybody in any language but an authorized representative must be appointed if the applicant is not resident or has no place of business in one of the contracting states. A translation of the specification must be filed in one of the official languages of the EPO.
Examination and designation fees are due within 6 months following the publication of the application. The applicant shall respond to the written opinion of the EPO (Extended European Search Report) within the same six-month period during which he is to file the examination request and pay the respective fees to validate the request.
Renewal fees from the third and each subsequent year are due on the last day of the month containing the anniversary of the date of filing. A six-month grace period is applicable. It might happen that a renewal fee falls due before or after publication of the mention of grant, depending on which it is to be paid to the EPO or to the national offices where a national validation request is filed.