Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC – London Agreement

The Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC – the London Agreement – is an optional agreement aiming at reducing the costs relating to the translation of European patents. It is the fruit of the longstanding efforts to provide for a cost attractive post-grant translation regime, which began in the 1990s in the framework of the European Patent Organisation and gained momentum at the Intergovernmental Conference held in Paris on 24 and 25 June 1999 (see OJ EPO 1999, 545). It was concluded at the Intergovernmental Conference held in the London on 17 October 2000 (see OJ EPO 2001, 549).

The EPC contracting states which have ratified or acceded to the Agreement undertake to waive, entirely or largely, the requirement for translations of European patents. Under Article 1(1), (2) and (3) of the London Agreement,

  • a state which has an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO shall dispense entirely with the translation requirements provided for in Article 65(1) EPC;
  • a state which does not have an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO shall dispense with the translation requirements provided for in Article 65(1) EPC if the European patent has been granted in the official language of the EPO prescribed by that State, or translated into that language and supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC. These states may however require that a translation of the claims into one of their official languages be supplied.

Status of accession and ratification

The London Agreement entered into force on 1 May 2008, following the deposit of the instruments of ratification and accession by 13 EPC contracting states – including the three where the most European patents took effect in 1999, that is, France, Germany and the United Kingdom (see Article 6(1) of the Agreement). Under Article 6, paragraph 2, of the Agreement any accession by a state after 1 May 2008 shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the instrument of accession.

EPC Contracting State
Signature
Instrument of
Deposited on
Entry into force
Albania accession 31.5.2013
1.9.2013
Austria
Belgium accession 2.5.2019 1.9.2019
Bulgaria
Croatia ------ accession 31.10.2007
1.5.2008
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark 17.10.2000
ratification
18.1.2008
1.5.2008
Estonia
Finland accession 25.7.2011
1.11.2011
France 29.6.2001 ratification 29.1.2008
1.5.2008
Germany 17.10.2000 ratification 19.2.2004 1.5.2008
Greece
Hungary ------ accession 28.9.2010
1.1.2011
Iceland ------
accession 31.8.2004 1.5.2008
Ireland accession
25.11.2013
1.3.2014
Italy
Latvia ------
accession 5.4.2005 1.5.2008
Liechtenstein 17.10.2000 ratification 23.11.2006 1.5.2008
Lithuania ------ accession
22.1.2009
1.5.2009
Luxembourg 20.3.2001 ratification 18.9.2007
1.5.2008
North Macedonia accession
20.10.2011
1.2.2012
Malta
Monaco 17.10.2000 ratification 12.11.2003 1.5.2008
Netherlands 17.10.2000 ratification 5.10.2006 1.5.2008
Norway
------ accession 26.9.2014 1.1.2015
Poland
Portugal
Romania
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia ------
accession 18.9.2002 1.5.2008
Spain
Sweden 17.10.2000 ratification
29.4.2008
1.5.2008
Switzerland 17.10.2000 ratification 12.6.2006 1.5.2008
Turkey
United Kingdom 17.10.2000 ratification 15.8.2005 1.5.2008

Key points

Entry into force

The London Agreement entered into force on 1 May 2008.

Scope of application

The London Agreement applies to European patents in respect of which the mention of grant is published in the European Patent Bulletin after the Agreement enters into force for the state concerned (see its Article 9). The new translation regime thus applies in those states which have ratified or acceded to the London Agreement to all European patents in respect of which the mention of grant was published in the European Patent Bulletin on or after 1 May 2008. For Albania, Lithuania and North Macedonia (previously known as the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"), the London Agreement has no impact on the existing translation regime.

In Denmark, France (see Paris court of appeal judgment of 14 April 2010), Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland/Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom, the new rules also apply to European patents granted before 1 May 2008 and amended on or after that date (mention published in the European Patent Bulletin) in opposition, appeal or limitation proceedings. This is also the case for Hungary if a European patent was granted before 1 January 2011 and was amended on or after that date in opposition, appeal or limitation proceedings.

For Germany, the old translation requirements continue to apply to European patents granted before 1 May 2008 and amended on or after that date. For Finland, they also continue to apply to European patents granted before 1 November 2011, and for Norway to those granted before 1 January 2015.

For Croatia, there are no such transitional provisions.

Regarding the transitional provisions in Switzerland/Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom stipulating that European patents in respect of which the mention of grant was published before 1 May 2008 also fall under the London Agreement regime, see the information published by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property and the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Belgium’s accession to the London Agreement entered into force on 1 September 2019.

Please note that Belgium has already previously amended its law in order to bring it in line with the London Agreement (see OJ EPO 2016, A99). Therefore, there are no changes to the current translation requirements in Belgium.

As regards the transitional provisions, Belgian law provides that for European patents granted for Belgium in English in respect of which the mention of grant, maintenance in amended form or limitation is published in the European Patent Bulletin before 1 January 2017, a translation of the specification into Dutch, French or German must still be supplied in accordance with Article 65(1) EPC.

Dispensation with translation requirements

The London Agreement distinguishes between (1) states having an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO (English, French and German) and (2) states having no official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO.

1. States having an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO dispense with translation requirements under Article 65(1) EPC (Article 1(1) of the London Agreement).

This provision currently applies to the following states:

  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

2. States which do not have an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO may require that a translation of the claims into one of their official languages be supplied (Article 1(3) of the London Agreement).

The following states require that the claims be supplied in their official language:

  • Albania (Albanian)
  • Croatia (Croatian)
  • Denmark (Danish)
  • Finland (Finnish)
  • North Macedonia (Macedonian)
  • Hungary (Hungarian)
  • Iceland (Icelandic)
  • Latvia (Latvian)
  • Lithuania (Lithuanian)
  • Netherlands (Dutch)
  • Norway (Norwegian)
  • Sweden (Swedish)
  • Slovenia (Slovene)

The above states dispense with further translation requirements if the European patent has been granted in an official language of the EPO prescribed by them, or translated into that language and supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65(1) EPC (Article 1(2) of the London Agreement).

The following states have prescribed English:

  • Albania
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden

In Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, the European patent may also be supplied in the national language.

The following states have not prescribed any language under Article 1(2) of the London Agreement:

  • North Macedonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Slovenia

Please consult the EPO's publication "National law relating to the EPC" for further details regarding validation requirements in the EPC contracting states.

National legal bases

A comprehensive list of legal bases relating to validation requirements in the EPC contracting states is available in the EPO's publication "National law relating to the EPC".

Albania

  • Article 87/d of the Law No. 9947 on Industrial Property of 7 July 2008 as amended by Law No. 55/2014 of 29 May 2014

Belgium

  • Art. 94, 96 of the Belgian law of 29 June 2016 on miscellaneous provisions of economic law, Belgisch Staatsblad/Moniteur belge, 06.07.2016 (41701)
  • Law of 23 March 2019 assenting to the following international treaties on intellectual property:
    • International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 2 December 1961, as revised at Geneva on 10 November 1972, 23 October 1978 and 19 March 1991
    • London Agreement of 17 October 2000 on the application of Article 65 EPC
    Belgisch Staatsblad/Moniteur belge, 21.06.2019 (63940)

Croatia

  • Article 108o of the Patents Act (OG 173/03, 87/05 and 76/07)

Denmark

France

  • Article 10 de la Loi sur la lutte contre la contrefaçon du 17.10.2007, modifiant l'article L. 614-7 du code de la propriété intellectuelle

Germany

  • Articles 8a, 8b and 10 of the German "Gesetz zur Verbesserung der Durchsetzung von Rechten des geistigen Eigentums" dated 7 July 2008 relate to the London Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC; these provisions entered into force with retrospective effect from 1 May 2008.

Hungary

Iceland

  • Section 77.1 of Patents Act No. 17/1991 as amended by Act No. 53 of 2004

Latvia

  • Article 71.2 of the Patents Act of 15.2.2007

Lithuania

  • Article 59(3)(2) and (3) of the Patent Law as published in “Valstybės žinios” No. 85/2005

Slovenia

Switzerland/Liechtenstein

United Kingdom

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