EUROPEAN PATENT ORGANISATION
Albania accedes to the European Patent Convention
1. Accession to the EPC
On 11. February 2010, the Government of the Republic of Albania (AL) deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The EPC will accordingly enter into force for Albania on 1 May 2010.
The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 37 member states from 1 May 2010:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Further information concerning the effects of this accession and Albania's national provisions 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 May 2010 will include the designation of the new contracting state1. It will not be possible to designate Albania 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 April 2010 the filing date of 1 May 2010 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.
Nationals of Albania and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Albania will also be entitled, as from 1 May 2010, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving Office.
Any PCT request (PCT/RO/101) filed on or after 1 May 2010 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 Albania can be granted on the basis of international applications with a filing date prior to 1 May 2010. However, a national patent can be granted, assuming that Albania has been designated in the international application. The designation of Albania at the time an international application with a filing date prior to 1 May 2010 enters the European phase2 is legally invalid.
4. Effect of accession to the EPC on the AL-EPO extension agreement
The extension agreement between Albania and the European Patent Organisation will terminate with the entry into force of the EPC in Albania on 1 May 2010. It will therefore no longer be possible to extend European patent applications and patents to Albania3. The extension system will, however, continue to apply to all European and international applications filed prior to 1 May 2010, 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 Albanian 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 may be worded as follows in Albanian: "Kërkohet të bëhet ekzaminimi i aplikimit në bazë të nenit 94".
2 EPA/EPO/OEB Form 1200 04.09
3 European patent applications filed on or after 1 May 2010 will no longer be deemed to be requests to extend the European patent application or the European patent granted in respect thereof to Albania. The marking of a cross against Albania in Section 33.1 of EPO Form 1001 for applications filed on after the above date will have no legal effect. Albania will be removed from the list of extension states when the form is next reissued.