EUROPEAN PATENT ORGANISATION
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia accedes to the European Patent Convention
1. Accession to the EPC
On 28 October 2008, the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MK) deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The EPC will accordingly enter into force for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 1 January 2009.
The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 35 member states as from 1 January 2009:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Further information concerning the effects of this accession and the provisions which the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has enacted or will enact 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 January 2009 will include the designation of the new contracting state1. It will not be possible to designate the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 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 December 2008 the filing date of 1 January 2009 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.
Nationals of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and persons having their principal place of business or residence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will also be entitled, as from 1 January 2009, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving Office.
Any PCT request (PCT/RO/101) filed on or after 1 January 2009 will automatically designate the new EPC contracting state for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (Rule 4.9(a)(iii) PCT).
No European patents for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can be granted on the basis of international applications with a filing date prior to 1 January 2009. However, a national patent can be granted, assuming that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been designated in the international application. The designation of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at the time an international application with a filing date prior to 1 January 2009 enters the European phase2 is legally invalid.
4. Effect of accession to the EPC on the MK-EPO extension agreement
The extension agreement between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the European Patent Organisation will terminate with the entry into force of the EPC in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on 1 January 2009. It will therefore no longer be possible to extend European patent applications and patents to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia3. The extension system will, however, continue to apply to all European and international applications filed prior to 1 January 2009, as well as to all European patents granted in respect of such applications.
To obtain a reduction in the examination fee under Rule 6(3) EPC and Article 14(1) RFees, the request for examination may be submitted in Macedonian at any time before the examination fee is paid (see decision of the Legal Board of Appeal J 21/98, published in OJ EPO 2000, 406). The request for examination in Macedonian may be worded as follows: "Испитување на пријавата според член 94 на ЕПК".
2 EPA/EPO/OEB Form 1200 01.08.
3 European patent applications filed on or after 1 January 2009 will no longer be deemed to be requests to extend the European patent application or the European patent granted in respect thereof to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The marking of a cross against the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Section 33.1 of EPO Form 1001 for applications filed on or after the above date will have no legal effect. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be removed from the list of extension states when the form is next reissued.