Between 1993 and 2009 the European Patent Organisation signed co-operation and European patent extension agreements with a number of European states that are (or at the time were) not party to the EPC ("extension agreements").
Since 2010, it has concluded further agreements providing for European patents to have effect in non-contracting states ("validation agreements"). However, these validation agreements are not limited to European countries.
Applicants for a European patent have a simple and cost-effective way of obtaining patent protection in such countries. If an applicant submits a request for extension/validation and pays the extension/validation fee(s) in due time, European patent applications (direct and Euro-PCT filings) and patents can be extended to/validated in these countries, where they will in principle have the same effect as national applications and patents, will be subject to national law and will enjoy essentially the same protection as patents that the EPO grants for EPC contracting states.
The extension and validation systems are largely the same as the designation system for contracting states. For example, the period for payment of the extension/validation fee is the same as the period for payment of the designation fee. However, the extension and validation systems are based not on direct application of the EPC but solely on the relevant national law modelled on the EPC. Hence they are subject to the national extension/validation rules of the country concerned.
For more information on extension/validation system, please refer to the guidelines for examination:
Extension and validation of European patent applications and patents to States not party to the EPC (Guidelines for Examination A-III, 12)
Currently, extension can be requested with effect for
- Bosnia-Herzegovina, and
Please note that the extension system remains applicable to European and international patent applications filed before termination of the relevant agreement and to European patents granted on the basis of such applications. For the complete list of extension agreements concluded by the European Patent Organisation, please refer to the relevant table.
For more information on the extension system, please refer to:
- Extension of European patents to Slovenia (OJ 1994, 75)
- Extension of European patents to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA) (OJ 2004, 619)
- Extension of European patents to Montenegro (ME) (OJ 2010, 10)
- Notice from the European Patent Office dated 2 November 2009 concerning the re-introduction of a grace period for the payment of extension fees (OJ 2009, 603)
Currently, validation can be requested with effect for
- Republic of Moldova,
- Tunisia, and
For the list of validation agreements concluded by the European Patent Organisation, please refer to the relevant table.
For more information on the validation system for each state, please refer to:
- Validation of European patents in Morocco (OJ 2016, A5)
- Validation of European patents in Morocco (MA) with effect from 1 March 2015 (OJ 2015, A20)
- Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 5 February 2015 fixing the amount of the fee for validating European patent applications and patents in Morocco (OJ 2015, A18)
Republic of Moldova (MD)
- Validation of European patents in the Republic of Moldova (OJ 2016, A67)
- Validation of European patents in the Republic of Moldova (MD) with effect from 1 November 2015 (OJ 2015, A85)
- Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 1 October 2015 fixing the amount of the fee for validating European patent applications and patents in the Republic of Moldova (OJ 2015, A84)
For more information, please refer to:
- the websites of the relevant national patent authorities
- the EPO brochure "National law relating to the EPC"