24 November 2016
The European Patent Office and the Principality of Monaco have signed an agreement under which the EPO will carry out searches for national patent applications on behalf of the Monegasque patent office.
The agreement, which will take effect on 1 April 2017, was signed by EPO President Benoît Battistelli and Monaco's Finance and Economy Minister Jean Castellini today in Monte Carlo, where the EPO was holding its Online Services User Day.
"Thanks to our partnership, Monegasque companies and inventors will have a new service available to them - the EPO's fast, high-quality search," said President Battistelli. "On request, the EPO will provide applicants for national patents with a search report and written opinion about the patentability of their invention, within six months of filing. This search can then be used if they subsequently file a European or international application. This is another example of how co-operation with our member states is making the patent system more accessible for businesses and inventors."
"The signature of this agreement not only shows our will to support companies' growth and innovation by providing a powerful new legal instrument," said Minister Castellini. "It also demonstrates our efforts to continue the process – initiated in 2010 – of modernising the legal framework of our national industrial property office."
Under similar agreements the EPO already conducts searches on national patent applications for several other member states. Since 2007, the Administrative Council has adopted agreements for eight states: Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Lithuania and Latvia, in addition to the searches the EPO has historically performed for Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Turkey as member countries of the erstwhile International Patent Institute (IIB), the precursor to the EPO.
The EPO and Monaco have intensified their co-operation in recent years, signing a bilateral co-operation plan in November 2015. Monaco has been a member state of the European Patent Organisation since 1 December 1991.