INFORMATION FROM THE CONTRACTING / EXTENSION STATES
Translations of European patent specifications1
I. In the Second Law on the Community Patent of 20 December 19912 Germany has availed itself of Article 65 EPC and now prescribes that a German translation be supplied for European patents valid in Germany but not drawn up in German.
The following points should be borne in mind:
1. The new arrangements came into force on 1 June 1992 and apply only to European patents for which mention of grant was published in the European Patent Bulletin after 31 May 1992.
2. The translation must be filed with the German Patent Office along with payment of the prescribed fee (DEM 250) within three months of publication of the mention of grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin. Translations filed prior to publication of the mention of grant will be accepted.
3. The new arrangements also apply to European patent specifications amended during opposition proceedings, but in this case the three-month period in which to file the translation and pay the fee begins when mention of the decision regarding the opposition is published.
4. If the translation is not filed in due time and form or the fee is not paid on time, the European patent will be deemed to be void ab initio in Germany.
5. The filed translations will be published by the German Patent Office as official patent documents. Mention of the publication will be made in the Patent Bulletin ("Patentblatt") and recorded in the Patent Register ("Patentrolle").
6. The translation of a European patent specification is published mainly for information purposes. The extent of protection conferred by a European patent is in principle determined by the wording in the language of the proceedings.
7. If the published translation is inaccurate the patent proprietor may file a corrected translation which will also be published. If the prescribed fee (DEM 250) is not paid within a month of the translation being filed with the German Patent Office, the corrected translation will be deemed not to have been filed.
8. Anyone who in good faith has used or made effective and serious preparations for using an invention the use of which does not constitute infringement of the patent in an inaccurate translation may continue such use for the needs of his own business even after the corrected translation has been published (cf. Article 70(4)(b) EPC).
II. In the Regulation on Translations of European Patent Specifications of 2 June 19923 ("the Regulation") the President of the German Patent Office issued further instructions on the filing of German translations.
The main requirements are as follows:
1. The translation must cover the description, claims and drawings of the European patent specification and be filed in duplicate (Article 2(1) of the Regulation).
2. It must be submitted to the German Patent Office within three months of publication of the mention of grant of the European patent in a suitable form for publication (Article 3(1) of the Regulation). That includes compliance with the formal requirements under Article 3(2) of the Regulation which largely correspond to those prescribed under Rule 35(3), (4) and (10) EPC for documents making up a European patent application.
4. According to Article 1 of the Regulation, the translation must be accompanied by a separate sheet signed by the patent proprietor or his representative and identifying the patent proprietor and the application and publication numbers of the European patent to which the translation relates.
5. If, in particular, the requirements under Section II.2 are not met, the translation is incomplete (cf. Article 2(1) p. 2 of the Regulation) or the prescribed fee is not paid in due time, the German Patent Office will under Article 5 of the Regulation deem the European patent to be void ab initio in Germany, and notify the patent proprietor or his representative accordingly.
6. If an inaccurate translation is corrected, a translation of the entire European patent specification must be submitted along with an indication of which sections were affected by the correction (Article 6 of the Regulation).
7. The provisions of the Regulation apply mutatis mutandis to the submission of European patent specifications amended during opposition proceedings.
8. An important point to remember is that at present it is not necessary to appoint a representative to file a translation with the German Patent Office.
2 Article 6 point 4 of the Law on the Agreement of 21 December 1989 relating to Community patents, on the Protocol of 21 December 1989 on a possible modification of the conditions of entry into force of the Agreement relating to Community patents and on the amendment of patent law provisions (Second Law on the Community Patent), BGBl. 1991 II p. 1354.
3 BGBl. 1992 II, p. 395; Bl. f. PMZ 1992, 290.