The EPO at a glance

Welcome to the EPO

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 45 countries through a centralised and uniform procedure that requires just one application.

Mission, vision and values

EPO building at The Hague


The European Patent Office (EPO) was set up in 1973. From 16 signatory states of the European Patent Convention in 1973, the Organisation has now grown to 39 member states, including all 27 EU member states plus countries such as Norway, Switzerland and Türkiye.



The EPO is the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation, an international organisation with 39 member states. The EPO’s activities and budget are overseen by the Organisation’s Administrative Council, which consists of representatives of the member states.

More on the governance

Leadership and Management

The current President of the European Patent Office is António Campinos. He took up office on 1 July 2018.

About the President
About the Management Advisory Committee

EPO President António Campinos


The EPO is one of the largest public service organisations in Europe, employing almost 6 300 staff of 35 different nationalities. Of them, over 4 000 are highly qualified scientists and engineers working as patent examiners in all fields of technology.

Social Report 2023
Job opportunities


Structure of the European Patent Office

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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 2023, it has a budget of EUR 2.57 billion.

Geographic scope of the European patent protection

European patents provide protection not only in the 39 member states of the European Patent Organisation but also in one extension state and five validation states. This represents an area with some 700 million inhabitants.

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Bilateral co-operation

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.

Bilateral co-operation with non-member states

Key figures of 2023

Demand for patents - European patent application

A graph depicting a steady upward trend in patent applications from 2019 to 2023. Key points include:  2019: 181,532 patents. 2020: Slight dip to 180,417 patents. 2021: Rebound to 188,809 patents. 2022: Further increase to 193,627 patents. 2023: 199,275 patents


Top technology fields

% change, European patent applications 2023 vs. 2022

Geographic origin

European patent applications 2023 by country of origin


View all statistics in our Patent Index 2023

All annual reports of the EPO