EUROPEAN PATENT ORGANISATION
Finland accedes to the European Patent Convention
1. Accession to the EPC
The Government of the Republic of Finland deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) on 29 December 1995. The EPC accordingly enters into force for Finland on 1 March 1996.
The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 18 member states as from 1 March 1996: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Further information concerning the effects of this accession and the Finnish provisions for the implementation of the EPC will be published in a later issue of the Official Journal.
2. Important information
Finland can therefore be designated in European patent applications filed on or after 1 March 19961.
The EPO will however accord European patent applications filed during February 1996 and expressly designating Finland the filing date of 1 March 1996 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.
Since Finland has been a PCT contracting state since 1980, Finnish nationals and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Finland will also be entitled, as from 1 March 1996, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving office. Furthermore, Finland may be designated for a European patent in international applications filed on or after 1 March 19962.
Following the Decision of the President of the EPO dated January 1996, equivalents of the EPO's fees, costs and prices will be laid down in Finnish marks (FIM) with effect from 1 March 1996 under Article 6(4) of the Rules relating to Fees. This decision and the full schedule of fees are expected to be published together with new equivalents in other currencies as a supplement to Official Journal 3/96. The main fees in FIM can be gathered from the guidance on the payment of fees, costs and prices on page 116 of this issue of the Official Journal.
The number of the EPO's bank account in Finland was unknown at the time of going to press. For further information please telephone (+49 89) 2399-4233.
1. The current Request for Grant form (EPA/EPO/OEB Form 1001 10.95, OJ EPO 1995, 784) remains valid and a revised version is not envisaged for the present. Applicants wishing to designate Finland must add it to Section 33 ("Designation of contracting states"). As from 1 March 1996 Section 33a ("Precautionary designation of all contracting states") will also apply to Finland.
2. Crossing the "EP" box in the PCT request (Form PCT/RTO/101 - January 1996) automatically includes this provision.