Jurisdictions/European Patent Convention EPC

European Patent Convention EPC and European Patent Organization EPO

What is the EPO?

The EPO, short for ‘European Patent Organization’ or ‘European Patent Office’, is the authority governing the European Patent Convention, EPC. Being one of the world’s largest patent offices, the EPO is not bound by a country nor by a political union. In fact, the EPO is a supra-national institution hovering above the European continent. Whilst 27 countries are currently in the European Union, 39 countries are in the European Patent Convention.

What is the role of the EPO?

The EPO’s task is to accept so-called European Patent Applications and grant them as “European Patents”. Once granted, a European Patent is just like a national patent in all member states in which the European Patent is validated. In a nutshell, the EPO allows to circumvent many individual national patent granting procedures. One decision to grant from the EPO wins a proprietor patent protection in all member states the patent is then validated. Such a centralized proceeding saves time, money and reduces uncertainty for both patent proprietors and the public.

Member states of the EPO (2023)

Code Member state  Since
BE Belgium 7 October 1977
DE Germany 7 October 1977
FR France 7 October 1977
LU Luxembourg 7 October 1977
NL Netherlands 7 October 1977
CH Switzerland 7 October 1977
GB United Kingdom 7 October 1977
SE Sweden 1 May 1978
IT Italy 1 December 1978
AT Austria 1 May 1979
LI Liechtenstein 1 April 1980
GR Greece 1 October 1986
ES Spain 1 October 1986
DK Denmark 1 January 1990
MC Monaco 1 December 1991
PT Portugal 1 January 1992
IE Ireland 1 August 1992
FI Finland 1 March 1996
CY Cyprus 1 April 1998
TR Türkiye 1 November 2000
BG Bulgaria 1 July 2002
CZ Czech Republic 1 July 2002
EE Estonia 1 July 2002
SK Slovakia 1 July 2002
SI Slovenia 1 December 2002
HU Hungary 1 January 2003
RO Romania 1 March 2003
PL Poland 1 March 2004
IS Iceland 1 November 2004
LT Lithuania 1 December 2004
LV Latvia 1 July 2005
MT Malta 1 March 2007
HR Croatia 1 January 2008
NO Norway 1 January 2008
MK North Macedonia 1 January 2009
SM San Marino 1 July 2009
AL Albania 1 May 2010
RS Serbia 1 October 2010
ME Montenegro 1 October 2022

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