On 15 July 2010, the Government of the Republic of Serbia (RS) deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The EPC will accordingly enter into force for Serbia on 1 October 2010.
The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 38 member states from 1 October 2010:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom.
Further information concerning the effects of this accession and Serbia's national provisions for the implementation of the EPC will be published in later issues of the Official Journal.
European patent applications filed on or after 1 October 2010 will include the designation of the new contracting state 1 . It will not be possible to designate Serbia retroactively in applications filed before that date.
To allow the new contracting state to be designated, however, the EPO will accord European patent applications filed in September 2010 the filing date of 1 October 2010 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.
Nationals of Serbia and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Serbia will also be entitled, as from 1 October 2010, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving Office.
Any PCT request (PCT/RO/101) filed on or after 1 October 2010 will automatically designate the new EPC contracting state for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (Rule 4.9(a)(iii) PCT).
No European patents for Serbia can be granted on the basis of international applications with a filing date prior to 1 October 2010. However, a national patent can be granted, assuming that Serbia has been designated in the international application. The designation of Serbia at the time an international application with a filing date prior to 1 October 2010 enters the European phase 2 is legally invalid.
The extension agreement between Serbia and the European Patent Organisation will terminate with the entry into force of the EPC in Serbia on 1 October 2010. It will therefore no longer be possible to extend European patent applications and patents to Serbia 3 . The extension system will, however, continue to apply to all European and international applications filed prior to 1 October 2010, as well as to all European patents granted in respect of such applications.
1. See Article 79(1) EPC.
To obtain a reduction in the examination fee under Rule 6(3) EPC and Article 14(1) RFees, the request for examination may be submitted in Serbian at any time before the examination fee is paid (see decision of the Legal Board of Appeal J 21/98, published in OJ EPO 2000, 406). The request for examination may be worded as follows in Serbian: "Захтева се испитивање ппријаве према чл. 94. КЕП-а.".
3. European patent applications filed on or after 1 October 2010 will no longer be deemed to be requests to extend the European patent application or the European patent granted in respect thereof to Serbia. The marking of a cross against Serbia in Section 33.1 of EPO Form 1001 for applications filed on after the above date will have no legal effect. Serbia will be removed from the list of extension states when the form is next reissued.