European Patent Office

The EPO, set up in 1977 with 16 participants, now has 38 member states.  In addition to all 27 EU member states, the countries listed below belong to the EPO.

Albania, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey.

In a European patent application, the applicant must designate one or more of the states in which the patent, if granted, will be effective. Any resulting European patent will be split into a bundle of independent patents for all countries for which designation fees have been paid, once certain national procedures have been completed.

If just seven country designation fees are paid, the designation fees are deemed to be paid for all countries.  In general these procedures include appointing a local patent attorney in each designated country and filing a translation of the patent specification into the local language.

Separate renewal fees are then payable annually direct to the Patent Office in each designated country. The applicant can then choose whether to renew the patents in some or all of the countries.