National validation

Under Article 2(2) EPC, a European patent shall, in each of the contracting states for which it is granted, have the effect of and be subject to the same conditions as a national patent granted by that state, unless otherwise provided in the EPC.

As regards national translation requirements, please consult Table IV of the EPO's brochure National law relating to the EPC and the page "London Agreement."

At present, the following translation requirements are provided for:

  • supply of a translation in the national language of the complete European patent specification,
  • supply of a translation in the national language of the claims only or
  • supply of a translation of the claims in the national language and a translation of the European patent specification in English, if the European patent was granted in French or German.

In France, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland/Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom, no translation of the specification of the European patent needs to be supplied (status: 1 May 2008). Under Article 64(1) EPC, the European patent automatically confers on its proprietor from the date the mention of its grant is published in the European Patent Bulletin, the same rights as would be conferred by a national patent granted in that state.

The remaining 27 contracting states (status: 1 May 2008) have all enacted provisions under Article 65(1) EPC or Article 1(2) and (3) London Agreement:

  • Under Article 65(1) EPC, any contracting state may, if the European patent as granted, amended or limited by the EPO is not drawn up in one of its official languages, prescribe that the patent proprietor shall supply to its central industrial property office a translation of the patent as granted, amended or limited in one of its official languages at his option or, where that state has prescribed the use of one specific official language, in that language.
  • Under Article 1(2) London Agreement, a contracting state which does not have an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO shall dispense with the translation requirements provided for in Article 65(1) EPC if the European patent has been granted in the official language of the EPO prescribed by that state, or translated into that language and supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC. Under Article 1(3) London Agreement, the above states may require that a translation of the claims into one of their official languages be supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC.

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey, have enacted provisions under Article 65(1) EPC and require a translation of the complete European patent specification if the European patent has not been granted in one of their official languages.

As regards the states which have implemented the London Agreement, the following translation requirements are applicable:

  • Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia require that a translation of the claims into one of their official languages be supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC.
  • Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands and Sweden also require that a translation of the claims into one of their official languages be supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC. These states dispense with further translation requirements if the European patent has been granted in English, or - in case the patent has been granted in French or German - if it is translated into English and supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC. In Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands and Sweden, the translation may be also be supplied in the respective official language.

In accordance with Article 65(3) EPC, the above contracting states have all prescribed that, in the event of failure to observe the relevant national provisions, the European patent will be deemed to be void ab initio. The circumstances in which such a loss of rights occurs are determined by national law. In most contracting states the time period for filing the translation is non-extendable.

For further information, please consult the EPO's brochure National law relating to the EPC and the page "London Agreement."

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