European Union: unitary patent system

Nowadays, the protection of a patent can be obtained by using the following routes:

  • National route, by filing a national patent application directly in the country concerned and according to the national law of the respective country
  • International route in one or more concerned countries, by filing a single international application under Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). Upon opening national phase(s), the international application will be ‘transformed’ into a ‘bundle’ of national applications governed by national laws of the countries (members to PCT), as designated in the international application
  • European patent route, whereby the patent protection can be obtained under the European Patent Convention (EPC) in about 40 countries (members to EPC) by filing a single patent application. The patent rights are granted by European Patent Office (EPO), but the protective effect of the patent requires its validation in each of the designated countries. A granted European patent subject to the completion of validation proceedings is ‘transformed’ into a ‘bundle’ of individual national patents…

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