1 October 2022
Montenegro today became the 39th state to join the European Patent Organisation. This follows the country's deposition of its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) on 15 July 2022. As of 1 October 2022, European patent applications will include the designation of the new contracting state Montenegro. The European Patent Office (EPO) will also take over the functions of a PCT receiving office and act as a PCT International Search and Examination Authority on behalf of Montenegro.
According to Josef Kratochvíl, Chairperson of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, "the accession of Montenegro highlights the attractiveness of the European patent system for European economies and its potential for growth, as a strong support for innovation in uncertain times."
António Campinos, President of the EPO, the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation, said "we are delighted to welcome Montenegro as our newest member state. Building on the last 15 years of close co-operation with the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism and the national IP office, we hope that this will benefit local innovation and our users alike. The accession of Montenegro to the EPC is also a strong endorsement of the quality of the European Patent system."
Commenting on the accession, Mr Goran Đurović, Minister of the Montenegrin Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, noted that "Montenegro is pleased and privileged to become a new member state of the European Patent Organisation, which will significantly contribute to the enhancement of the system for patent protection in Montenegro. Membership of the European Patent Organisation makes Montenegro an integral part of the family of developed European countries that prioritises the effective protection of inventions."
The European Patent Organisation was founded with the aim of strengthening patent co-operation in Europe. It has grown from 16 EPC signatory states in 1973, to 39 contracting states as of 1 October 2022. These include all 27 EU member states as well as Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.
The EPO applies a centralised procedure to examining European patent applications for the Organisation's contracting states, one extension state (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and four validation states (Cambodia, Republic of Moldova, Morocco and Tunisia). This enables inventors, researchers and companies from around the world to obtain high-quality patent protection for their inventions in up to 44 countries, covering a market of some 700 million people. Set up in 1977, the EPO is headquartered in Munich, with offices in The Hague, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels, and employs around 6 400 staff.