The European Patent Organisation is an intergovernmental organisation that was set up on 7 October 1977 on the basis of the European Patent Convention (EPC) signed in Munich in 1973. It has two bodies, the European Patent Office and the Administrative Council.
The European Patent Office, the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation, offers inventors a uniform application procedure which enables them to seek patent protection in up to 42 countries. The Office is supervised by the Administrative Council.
The Administrative Council acts as the Office's supervisory body and is composed of representatives of the Organisation’s member states.
The European Patent Organisation currently has 38 member states. Additionally, European patents are recognised in two European non-member states ("extension states") and two non-European states ("validation states").
Decisions of the European Patent Office can be appealed to its boards of appeal. Though integrated in its organisational structure, the boards of appeal are independent of the Office in their decisions and are bound only by the European Patent Convention.