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 as well.

For the time being the official fee for filing a direct European patent application is in the amount of EUR.-1.405 including search plus filing fees.

Under the EPC 2000, it is possible to file a European application with reference to a previous application (Rule 40(2) EPC) or file the claims on a later date than the filing date of the application (Rule 40(2) and Rule 58 EPC). Although it is not advisable to file claims later on because as such they will not be part of the original disclosure as filed, EPC 2000 provides more flexible modern instruments for the applicants such as for instance academicians to obtain an urgent date of filing similar to a provisional patent application in the United States.

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 a place of business in one of the contracting states (Rule 50(3) EPC). A translation of the specification must be filed in one of the official languages of the EPO.

For the time being, an examination fee in the amount of EUR.-2.200 (Examination fee plus designation fee) is due within 6 months following the publication of the application. The applicant shall respond to the written opinion of the EPO (so-called 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 the 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 the a national validation is filed.