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European Patent Convention (EPC 1973)

 
 
A revised version of the European Patent Convention entered into force on 13 December 2007. The provisions of the revised Convention apply unless the transitional provisions provide for the applicability of the EPC 1973.

CONVENTION

ON THE GRANT OF EUROPEAN PATENTS
(EUROPEAN PATENT CONVENTION)

TEXT OF THE CONVENTION, THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS,

THE PROTOCOL ON CENTRALISATION, THE PROTOCOL ON RECOGNITION,

THE PROTOCOL ON PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES, THE PROTOCOL ON THE STAFF COMPLEMENT AND THE RULES RELATING TO FEES


published by the European Patent Office



12th edition


April 2006


PREFACE


This 12th, revised edition of the European Patent Convention contains the texts of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents (version as of 1 January 2006) and its Implementing Regulations (version as of 1 July 2005), the Protocol on Centralisation of 5 October 1973, the Protocol on Recognition of 5 October 1973, the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of 5 October 1973 and the Rules relating to Fees (version as of 1 April 2006). On 29.11.2000, the Diplomatic Conference 2000 (see OJ EPO 2001, Special edition No. 4) adopted numerous amendments to the EPC. The amendments to Articles 16, 17, 18, 37, 38, 42, and 50 EPC, to the Protocol on Centralisation and the Protocol on the Staff Complement are provisionally applicable, and thus already in effect. These new provisions have been inserted in addition to the existing texts. Moreover, the revised edition encompasses an index of published decisions/opinions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (Annex I), Legal Advice from the EPO in brief (Annex II) and an alphabetical keyword index.


This 12th edition takes account for the first time of the following decisions of the Administrative Council: decision of 7 June 2002 amending the Regulation on the establishment of an Institute of professional representatives before the European Patent Office (OJ EPO 2002, 429); decision of 24 October 2002 amending the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives (OJ EPO 2002, 565); decision of 12 December 2002 approving amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (OJ EPO 2003, 58); decision of 12 December 2002 approving amendments to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (OJ EPO 2003, 61); decision of 5 June 2003 setting up a Board of the Administrative Council (OJ EPO 2003, 333); decision of 30 October 2003 amending the Rules relating to Fees - Article 2 item 2 - (OJ EPO 2003, 531 f); decision of 30 October 2003 concerning the operation of the Board of the Administrative Council (OJ EPO 2003, 579); decision of 4 December 2003 amending the Rules relating to Fees - Article 2 item 1 - (OJ EPO 2004, 3 f); decision of 17 June 2004 amending the Regulation on the establishment of an institute of professional representatives before the European Patent Office (OJ EPO 2004, 361); decision of 29 October 2004 approving an amendment to the Rules of Procedure of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (OJ EPO 2004, 541); decision of 9 December 2004 amending the Implementing Regulations - Rule 44a - and the Rules relating to Fees - Article 2 items 2 and 6, Article 10 - (OJ EPO 2005, 5 ff); decision of 9 December 2004 amending the Implementing Regulations - Rule 51(4) - (OJ EPO 2005, 8 f); decision of 9 December 2004 amending the Rules relating to Fees - Article 2 items 12 and 13 - (OJ EPO 2005, 10); decision of 9 December 2004 amending the Implementing Regulations - Rules 54 and 108 - and the Rules relating to Fees - Article 2 item 3c - (OJ EPO 2005, 11 f); decision of 10 June 2005 reducing the fee for the supplementary European search (OJ EPO 2005, 422); decision of 27 October 2005 amending the EPC - Article 97(4) and (5) - (OJ EPO 2005, 545 f); decisions of 27 October 2005 reducing the fee for the supplementary European search (OJ EPO 2005, 546, 548); decisinos of 15 December 2005 amending the Rules relating to Fees - Article 2 - and reducing the fee for the supplementary European search (OJ EPO 2006, 8 ff, 13 f).


The amendments made to the Convention, the Implementing Regulations and the Rules relating to Fees by decisions of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation since the Convention entered into force on 7 October 1977 are indicated in footnotes to the provisions in question. These footnotes give the date of the Administrative Council decision concerned, the date on which it entered into force and the reference to the Official Journal of the European Patent Office (OJ EPO) in which it was published.


It has been thought useful to indicate, by way of marginal notes, some provisions the drafting of which might give rise to misinterpretation.


References to pertinent Articles and Rules appear on the right-hand side of the text of the Convention and its Implementing Regulations. However, Articles and Rules already quoted in the provisions themselves are not again indicated. It is expressly pointed out that these references do not form part of the official text. They are simply intended to facilitate its use, and do not claim to be exhaustive.


Annexes I, II and the alphabetical keyword index as mentioned above are designed to serve the same purpose. The reference numbers of the decisions/opinions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and the Legal Advice numbers are indicated in a footnote to the Articles and Rules in question.


December 2005 European Patent Office