Background information

European Patent Office

The European Patent Office (EPO) was set up by the European Patent Convention of 1973. It applies a single, uniform procedure to patent filings in any of its three official languages (English, French and German), and thus enables independent inventors, companies and researchers - from Europe and all over the world - to protect their inventions in a market of some 700 million people.

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Q&A on patents and coronavirus

What are patents and why do we need them? And how does the patent system encourage the innovation now urgently needed in diagnostics, detection, vaccines and treatments?

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Q&A on plant patents

Innovation in agriculture has been a central theme of human history. Selective breeding to promote particular traits in plants has been practiced for centuries. In the modern age, thanks to biotechnology, it has been possible to develop plants that nature alone would never have come up with. These are inventions and could be patented. So how are these patents different from regular plant breeders' rights? And how does the EPO apply the law of its member states when examining and granting patents for plant-related inventions?

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