EUROPEAN PATENT ORGANISATION
Iceland accedes to the European Patent Convention
1. Accession to the EPC
On 31 August 2004, the Government of the Republic of Iceland (IS) deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and to the Act revising the EPC of 29 November 2000.
The EPC will accordingly enter into force for Iceland on 1 November 2004.
The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 29 member states as from 1 November 2004:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Further information concerning the effects of this accession and the provisions which Iceland has enacted for the implementation of the EPC will be published in later issues of the Official Journal.
2. Important information
European patent applications filed on or after 1 November 2004 will include the designation of the new contracting state.1 It will not be possible to designate Iceland retroactively in applications filed before that date.
To allow the new contracting state to be designated, however, the EPO will accord European patent applications filed in October 2004 the filing date of 1 November 2004 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.
Nationals of Iceland and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Iceland will also be entitled, as from 1 November 2004, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving Office.
Any PCT request (PCT/RO/101) filed on or after 1 November 2004 will automatically designate the new EPC contracting state for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (new Rule 4.9(a)(iii) PCT).
No European patents for Iceland can be granted on the basis of international applications filed with a filing date prior to 1 November 2004. Only a national patent can be granted, assuming that Iceland has been designated in the international application. The designation of Iceland at the time an international application with a filing date prior to 1 November 2004 enters the European phase2 is legally invalid.
1 See Section 32.1 of the Request for Grant form (EPA/EPO/OEB Form 1001 05.04; OJ EPO 2004, 377). Lithuania will be included in a new version of the form.
To obtain a reduction in the examination fee under Rule 6(3) EPC and Article 12(1) RFees, the request for examination may be worded as follows in Icelandic:
Text in Icelandic : "Hér með er farið fram á veitingu evrópsks einkaleyfis og rannsókn á einkaleyfishæfi umsóknarinnar skv. 94. grein."
(see Section II, point 5, of the Notes on Form 1001). As Section 5 (left-hand column) already contains a preprinted written request for examination in the EPO's official languages, the recommended procedure is to enter the written request for examination in Icelandic in the right-hand column of Section 5. The request for examination in this language may however also be submitted later at any time before the examination fee is paid (see decision J 21/98 of the Legal Board of Appeal, published in OJ EPO 2000, 406).