Updating an international treaty is not a short-term exercise but, in reality, starts the very next day after a diplomatic conference has adopted the treaty for the first time. Over the years, since the conclusion of the EPC in 1973, a number of deficiencies and weaknesses as well as many proposals for improvement had been noted. Towards the end of the 1990s, time was ripe for the first comprehensive revision of the EPC, and in 1998 the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation agreed on a catalogue of legal and technical points for revision.
The aims of the revision were the following:
The detailed proposals for revision of the EPC were prepared by a Task Force comprising members from all EPO departments and were subject of a broad-based consultation, not least of the user community through the channels of the Standing Advisory Committee before the EPO (SACEPO). All proposals were then thoroughly examined and refined in a number of meetings of the Organisation’s Committee on Patent Law comprising experts from all Contracting States, observer countries and organisations.
The outcome of this intensive preparatory work was nearly one hundred proposals for changes to the EPC, collected in a Basic Proposal for the Revision of the EPC, approved by the Administrative Council in September 2000 and submitted to the Conference of the Contracting States convened under Article 172 EPC and held in Munich from 20 to 29 November 2000:
The Conference of the Contracting States took place from 20 to 29 November 2000. At the press conference held at the end of the Conference, Mr Grossenbacher, President of the Conference, gave the following account:
At the end of the Conference the representatives of the Contracting States signed the Final act of the Conference in which they declare to have drawn up and adopted the text of
A full account of the work of the Diplomatic Conference can be found in the Conference proceedings (PDF 1.9 MB).