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13 July 2016
The EPO signed two agreements at the end of June with the national patent offices of Latvia and Malta to improve conditions for small businesses from these countries seeking to protect their inventions through patents.
Under the agreements, the EPO conducts searches for national patent applications in these two countries on behalf of their patent offices and delivers these searches at a reduced rate to smaller patent applicants. The fee reduction - which foresees a refund of up to 75% of the search fee - applies to searches carried out on national patent applications of small and medium-sized enterprises, universities and individual inventors. These high-quality searches are essential for patent applicants, who can then use them to file a European patent application.
"We are pleased to extend our support to this very important group of patent applicants in two further member states," said EPO President Benoît Battistelli. "Patents are an important economic factor for companies looking to market their inventions at home or abroad. Through our co-operation we can support innovation and improve the quality of patented inventions, while cutting costs for companies."
The agreements were signed by the EPO President and the heads of the two national patent offices, namely Godwin Warr, Director General Commerce Department and Comptroller of Industrial Property at the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business of Malta, and Sandris Laganovskis, Director of the Patent Office of the Republic of Latvia.
The 75% reduction in the search fee is an exceptional measure, adopted by the EPO's Administrative Council in December 2015, for member states eligible for support under the EPO's co-operation policy with its member states. The EPO has concluded similar agreements with Cyprus, Lithuania and other member states.