The European Patent Convention signed during the Munich Conference provides protection for an invention in all member states through a single application before the European Patent Office, which take care of every step of the process: from the application to the final granting.
European Patent. Before we focus on how to patent in Europe, it would be appropriate to clarify some aspects regarding the matter of patents. A patent protects technical improvements characterized by three main features:
- Novelty: the patent has not been made known to the public before the application date, neither in Europe nor in any other country (international novelty).
- Inventive activity: the invention should not be obvious from the “state of the art” to a person with ordinary skills in the pertinent technology. The state of the art comprises everything related to the subject of the patent which has been made known to the public before the filing of the application.
- Industrial applicability: the object to be patented must be produced and used in any kind of industry.
The granting of the patent guarantees protection for a non-renewable period of 20 years, and is subjected to the payment of an annual fee to keep the patent in force. From the moment a patent is applied, 12 months are available to extend the application to any other country or group of countries.
A European Patent shall meet these requirements and also have 12 months term to be extended to any other country or group of countries of another continent.
The European Patent Convention provides protection for an invention in all member states through a single application to the European Patent Office, which take care of every step of the process: from the application to the final granting.
Its aim is to get the protection of invention easier and cheaper than the one which can be obtained through national procedures. The granting of the European Patent will produce the same effect as a national patent in case of it was filed directly in the patent office of each member states.