27 July 2022
Montenegro is due to become the 39th member state of the European Patent Organisation. On 15 July, the country accomplished the final step towards acceding to the European Patent Convention (EPC) by depositing its instrument of accession. As a result, Montenegro's accession will take effect on 1 October 2022 - pursuant to Article 169(2) EPC.
Co-operation between the EPO and Montenegro started in 2007, when the state informed the Office of its wish to conclude an Extension Agreement with the EPO. The signing of the Agreement in 2009 enabled Montenegro to gain the status of both Extension State and observer at the EPO's Administrative Council as of 1 March 2010.
Eight years later, on 23 July 2018, Montenegro formally requested to accede to the EPC. On 10 October 2018, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation officially invited Montenegro to accede to the EPC. In early 2019, discussions commenced on the legislative changes required to comply with the obligations arising from full membership of the European Patent Organisation. Finally, on 29 December 2021, the Parliament of Montenegro approved Montenegro's accession to the EPC.
From seven founding states in 1977 to 39 member states as of 1 October 2022, the European Patent Organisation has proven to be a success story of international co-operation and European integration, by helping steer innovation and economic growth. Officially welcoming Montenegro as member state is truly a landmark occasion in the history of the European Patent Organisation.