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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)



of 5 October 1973


text as amended by the act revising Article 63 EPC of 17 December 1991
and by decisions of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation
of 21 December 1978, 13 December 1994, 20 October 1995,
5 December 1996, 10 December 1998 and 27 October 2005 and comprising the provisionally applicable provisions of the act revising the EPC of 29 November 2000


CONTENTS



PREAMBLE


PART I

GENERAL AND INSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS


Chapter I

General provisions


Art. 1

European law for the grant of patents

Art. 2

European patent

Art. 3

Territorial effect

Art. 4

European Patent Organisation


Chapter II

The European Patent Organisation


Art. 5

Legal status

Art. 6

Seat

Art. 7

Sub-offices of the European Patent Office

Art. 8

Privileges and immunities

Art. 9

Liability


Chapter III

The European Patent Office


Art. 10

Direction

Art. 11

Appointment of senior employees

Art. 12

Duties of office

Art. 13

Disputes between the Organisation and the employees of the European Patent Office

Art. 14

Languages of the European Patent Office

Art. 15

The departments charged with the procedure

Art. 16

Receiving Section

Art. 17

Search Divisions

Art. 18

Examining Divisions

Art. 19

Opposition Divisions

Art. 20

Legal Division

Art. 21

Boards of Appeal

Art. 22

Enlarged Board of Appeal

Art. 23

Independence of the members of the Boards

Art. 24

Exclusion and objection

Art. 25

Technical opinion


Chapter IV

The Administrative Council


Art. 26

Membership

Art. 27

Chairmanship

Art. 28

Board

Art. 29

Meetings

Art. 30

Attendance of observers

Art. 31

Languages of the Administrative Council

Art. 32

Staff, premises and equipment

Art. 33

Competence of the Administrative Council in certain cases

Art. 34

Voting rights

Art. 35

Voting rules

Art. 36

Weighting of votes


Chapter V

Financial provisions


[Art. 37

Cover for expenditure]

Art. 37

Budgetary funding

Art. 38

The Organisation's own resources

Art. 39

Payments by the Contracting States in respect of renewal fees for European patents

Art. 40

Level of fees and payments - Special financial contributions

Art. 41

Advances

Art. 42

Budget

Art. 43

Authorisation for expenditure

Art. 44

Appropriations for unforeseeable expenditure

Art. 45

Accounting period

Art. 46

Preparation and adoption of the budget

Art. 47

Provisional budget

Art. 48

Budget implementation

Art. 49

Auditing of accounts

Art. 50

Financial Regulations

Art. 51

Rules relating to Fees


PART II

SUBSTANTIVE PATENT LAW


Chapter I

Patentability


Art. 52

Patentable inventions

Art. 53

Exceptions to patentability

Art. 54

Novelty

Art. 55

Non-prejudicial disclosures

Art. 56

Inventive step

Art. 57

Industrial application


Chapter II

Persons entitled to apply for and obtain European patents - Mention of the inventor


Art. 58

Entitlement to file a European patent application

Art. 59

Multiple applicants

Art. 60

Right to a European patent

Art. 61

European patent applications by persons not having the right to a European patent

Art. 62

Right of the inventor to be mentioned


Chapter III

Effects of the European patent and the European patent application


Art. 63

Term of the European patent

Art. 64

Rights conferred by a European patent

Art. 65

Translation of the specification of the European patent

Art. 66

Equivalence of European filing with national filing

Art. 67

Rights conferred by a European patent application after publication

Art. 68

Effect of revocation of the European patent

Art. 69

Extent of protection

Art. 70

Authentic text of a European patent application or European patent


Chapter IV

The European patent application as an object of property


Art. 71

Transfer and constitution of rights

Art. 72

Assignment

Art. 73

Contractual licensing

Art. 74

Law applicable


PART III

APPLICATION FOR EUROPEAN PATENTS


Chapter I

Filing and requirements of the European patent application


Art. 75

Filing of the European patent application

Art. 76

European divisional applications

Art. 77

Forwarding of European patent applications

Art. 78

Requirements of the European patent application

Art. 79

Designation of Contracting States

Art. 80

Date of filing

Art. 81

Designation of the inventor

Art. 82

Unity of invention

Art. 83

Disclosure of the invention

Art. 84

The claims

Art. 85

The abstract

Art. 86

Renewal fees for European patent applications


Chapter II

Priority


Art. 87

Priority right

Art. 88

Claiming priority

Art. 89

Effect of priority right


PART IV

PROCEDURE UP TO GRANT


Art. 90

Examination on filing

Art. 91

Examination as to formal requirements

Art. 92

The drawing up of the European search report

Art. 93

Publication of a European patent application

Art. 94

Request for examination

Art. 95

Extension of the period within which requests for examination may be filed

Art. 96

Examination of the European patent application

Art. 97

Refusal or grant

Art. 98

Publication of a specification of the European patent


PART V

OPPOSITION PROCEDURE


Art. 99

Opposition

Art. 100

Grounds for opposition

Art. 101

Examination of the opposition

Art. 102

Revocation or maintenance of the European patent

Art. 103

Publication of a new specification of the European patent

Art. 104

Costs

Art. 105

Intervention of the assumed infringer


PART VI

APPEALS PROCEDURE


Art. 106

Decisions subject to appeal

Art. 107

Persons entitled to appeal and to be parties to appeal proceedings

Art. 108

Time limit and form of appeal

Art. 109

Interlocutory revision

Art. 110

Examination of appeals

Art. 111

Decision in respect of appeals

Art. 112

Decision or opinion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal


PART VII

COMMON PROVISIONS


Chapter I

Common provisions governing procedure


Art. 113

Basis of decisions

Art. 114

Examination by the European Patent Office of its own motion

Art. 115

Observations by third parties

Art. 116

Oral proceedings

Art. 117

Taking of evidence

Art. 118

Unity of the European patent application or European patent

Art. 119

Notification

Art. 120

Time limits

Art. 121

Further processing of the European patent application

Art. 122

Restitutio in integrum

Art. 123

Amendments

Art. 124

Information concerning national patent applications

Art. 125

Reference to general principles

Art. 126

Termination of financial obligations


Chapter II

Information to the public or official authorities


Art. 127

Register of European Patents

Art. 128

Inspection of files

Art. 129

Periodical publications

Art. 130

Exchanges of information

Art. 131

Administrative and legal co-operation

Art. 132

Exchange of publications


Chapter III

Representation


Art. 133

General principles of representation

Art. 134

Professional representatives


PART VIII

IMPACT ON NATIONAL LAW


Chapter I

Conversion into a national patent application


Art. 135

Request for the application of national procedure

Art. 136

Submission and transmission of the request

Art. 137

Formal requirements for conversion


Chapter II

Revocation and prior rights


Art. 138

Grounds for revocation

Art. 139

Rights of earlier date or the same date


Chapter III

Miscellaneous effects


Art. 140

National utility models and utility certificates

Art. 141

Renewal fees for European patents


PART IX

SPECIAL AGREEMENTS


Art. 142

Unitary patents

Art. 143

Special departments of the European Patent Office

Art. 144

Representation before special departments

Art. 145

Select committee of the Administrative Council

Art. 146

Cover for expenditure for carrying out special tasks

Art. 147

Payments in respect of renewal fees for unitary patents

Art. 148

The European patent application as an object of property

Art. 149

Joint designation


PART X

INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION PURSUANT TO THE PATENT COOPERATION TREATY


Art. 150

Application of the Patent Cooperation Treaty

Art. 151

The European Patent Office as a receiving Office

Art. 152

Filing and transmittal of the international application

Art. 153

The European Patent Office as a designated Office

Art. 154

The European Patent Office as an International Searching Authority

Art. 155

The European Patent Office as an International Preliminary Examining Authority

Art. 156

The European Patent Office as an elected Office

Art. 157

International search report

Art. 158

Publication of the international application and its supply to the European Patent Office


PART XI

TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS


Art. 159

Administrative Council during a transitional period

Art. 160

Appointment of employees during a transitional period

Art. 161

First accounting period

Art. 162

Progressive expansion of the field of activity of the European Patent Office

Art. 163

Professional representatives during a transitional period


PART XII

FINAL PROVISIONS


Art. 164

Implementing Regulations and Protocols

Art. 165

Signature - Ratification

Art. 166

Accession

Art. 167

Reservations

Art. 168

Territorial field of application

Art. 169

Entry into force

Art. 170

Initial contribution

Art. 171

Duration of the Convention

Art. 172

Revision

Art. 173

Disputes between Contracting States

Art. 174

Denunciation

Art. 175

Preservation of acquired rights

Art. 176

Financial rights and obligations of a former Contracting State

Art. 177

Languages of the Convention

Art. 178

Transmission and notifications

Cross-reference list
Art. 16(elmts) R. 10
Art. 18(1)(elmts) R. 10
Art. 52(4) Art. 53(c)
Art. 54(4) -
Art. 54(5) Art. 54(4)
Art. 61(1) (elmts) R. 16
Art. 77 (elmts) R. 37
Art. 78(2) R. 38
Art. 79(2), (3) R. 39
Art. 80 R. 40
Art. 88(1) (elmts) R. 53
Art. 91(1), (2), (3) Art. 90(3), (4), (5);
R. 57
Art. 91(5) Art. 90(5); R. 60
Art. 92(2) R. 65
Art. 93(2) R. 68
Art. 94(2), (3) R. 70
Art. 95 -
Art. 96(1) R. 70
Art. 96(2), (3) Art. 94(3), (4)
Art. 99(3) R. 75
Art. 99(4), (5) Art. 99(3), (4)
Art. 102(1), (2) Art. 101(2)
Art. 102(3) Art. 101(3)(a)
Art. 105 (elmts) R. 89
Art. 106(2) R. 98
Art. 106(4), (5) R. 97
Art. 110(2), (3) R. 100(2), (3)
Art. 115 (elmts) R. 114
Art. 117(2) R. 119
Art. 117(4), (5), (6) R. 120
Art. 121(2), (3) R. 135
Art. 122(2), (3), (4), (5) R. 136
Art. 126 -
Art. 134(8) Art. 134a
Art. 135(2) R. 155
Art. 136(1), (2) (elmts) R. 155
Art. 136(2) Art. 135(2), (4)
Art. 151(1) R. 157
Art. 152 R. 157
Art. 153(2) R. 159
Art. 154 Art. 152
Art. 155 Art. 152
Art. 156 Art. 153(1)
Art. 157(1), (2), (3) Art. 153(6), (7)
Art. 158 Art. 153(3), (4), (5)
Art. 159 -
Art. 160 -
Art. 160(2) Art. 11(5)
Art. 161 -
Art. 162 -
Art. 163(1), (2), (3), (4), (6) Art. 134(3), (4), (7)
Art. 163(5), (7) -
Art. 167 -