The European Patent Office (EPO) examines European patent applications, enabling inventors, researchers and companies from around the world to obtain protection for their inventions in up to 44 countries through a centralised and uniform procedure that requires just one application.
The EPO is the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation, an international organisation with 38 member states. The EPO’s activities and budget are overseen by the Organisation’s Administrative Council, which consists of representatives of the member states.
The current President of the European Patent Office is António Campinos. He took up office on 1 July 2018.
The three official languages of the EPO are English, French and German. Patent applications may be filed in any of them.
The EPO has its headquarters in Munich, a branch in The Hague and offices in Berlin, Vienna and Brussels.
The EPO is financed entirely by fees paid by users. In 2021, it has a budget of EUR 2.4 billion.
European patents provide protection not only in the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation but also in two extension states and four validation states. This represents an area with some 700 million inhabitants.
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The EPO has established long-term partnerships with other IP offices around the world to further integrate and strengthen the global patent system. They aim to foster innovation, and support bilateral trade and investment – a boon to both local innovators and our international users.
Demand for patents - European patent applications
% change of European patent applications 2021 vs. 2020
European patent applications 2021 by country of origin