A revised version of this publication entered into force.
2.5.001The European Patent Organisation has signed co-operation and European patent extension agreements with a number of European states that are (or at the time were) not party to the EPC. Since 2010, it has concluded further agreements providing for European patents to have effect in non-contracting states. However, these "validation agreements" are not limited to European countries.
GL A‑III, 12
As an applicant for a European patent you thus have a simple and cost-effective way of obtaining patent protection in some countries which are not contracting states. If you request extension/validation and pay the extension/validation fee(s) in time, you can have European patent applications (direct and Euro-PCT filings) and patents extended to/validated in these countries, where they will then in principle have the same effect as national applications and patents, will be subject to national law and will enjoy essentially the same protection as patents the EPO grants for EPC contracting states. You can currently request extension to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Montenegro,4 as well as validation in Morocco, the Republic of Moldova, Tunisia and Cambodia. Lists of countries which have concluded an extension/validation agreement with the EPO are available at epo.org/about-us/foundation/extension-states.html and epo.org/about-us/foundation/validation-states.html.
The extension and validation systems are largely the same as the designation system for contracting states. For example, the period for payment of the extension/validation fee is the same as the period for payment of the designation fee. However, the extension and validation systems are based not on direct application of the EPC but solely on the relevant national law modelled on the EPC. Hence they are subject to the national extension/validation rules of the country concerned. Further information is available at epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/extension-validation-system.html.
4Montenegro is expected to become an EPC contracting state on 1 October 2022.