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Law & practice

Agreement dated 17 October 2000 on the application of Article 65 EPC

OJ EPO 2001, 549

The above agreement, concluded in London on 17 October 2000, will liberalise the translation arrangements for European patents. It is the fruit of work on reducing European patent costs, which was set in motion at the intergovernmental conference held in France in 1999[ 1 ].

The text of the agreement is reproduced below. The parties to it undertake to waive, entirely or largely, the requirement for translations of European patents to be filed in their national language. This means in practice that European patent proprietors will no longer have to file a translation of the specification for patents granted for an EPC contracting state party to the London Agreement and having one of the three EPO languages as an official language. Where this is not the case, they will be required to submit a full translation of the specification in the national language only if the patent is not available in the EPO language designated by the country concerned. For more details, see Articles 1 and 2 of the agreement. This breakthrough on the language issue will significantly reduce the cost of European patents.

Ten contracting states have signed the agreement[ 2 ]. To enter into force, it must be ratified by at least eight, including the three where the most European patents took effect in 1999[ 3 ] (Article 6 of the agreement).


Agreement on the application of Article 65 of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents

The States parties to this Agreement,

IN THEIR CAPACITY as Contracting States to the Convention on the Grant of European Patents (European Patent Convention) of 5 October 1973,

REAFFIRMING their desire to strengthen co-operation between the States of Europe in respect of the protection of inventions,

HAVING REGARD to Article 65 of the European Patent Convention,

RECOGNISING the importance of the objective to reduce the costs relating to the translation of European patents,

STRESSING the need for widespread adherence to that objective,

DETERMINED to contribute effectively to such cost reduction,

HAVE AGREED ON THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:

Article 1

Dispensation with translation requirements

(1) Any State party to this Agreement having an official language in common with one of the official languages of the European Patent Office shall dispense with the translation requirements provided for in Article 65, paragraph 1, of the European Patent Convention.

(2) Any State party to this Agreement having no official language in common with one of the official languages of the European Patent Office shall dispense with the translation requirements provided for in Article 65, paragraph 1, of the European Patent Convention, if the European patent has been granted in the official language of the European Patent Office prescribed by that State, or translated into that language and supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65, paragraph 1, of the European Patent Convention.

(3) The States referred to in paragraph 2 shall continue to have the right to require that a translation of the claims into one of their official languages be supplied under the conditions provided for in Article 65, paragraph 1, of the European Patent Convention.

(4) Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as restricting the right of the States parties to this Agreement to dispense with any translation requirement or to apply more liberal translation requirements than those referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3.

Article 2

Translations in case of dispute

Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as restricting the right of the States parties to this Agreement to prescribe that, in the case of a dispute relating to a European patent, the patent proprietor, at his own expense,

(a) shall supply, at the request of an alleged infringer, a full translation into an official language of the State in which the alleged infringement took place,

(b) shall supply, at the request of the competent court or quasi judicial authority in the course of legal proceedings, a full translation into an official language of the State concerned.

Article 3

Signature - Ratification

(1) This Agreement shall be open for signature by any Contracting State to the European Patent Convention until 30 June 2001.

(2) This Agreement shall be subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Article 4

Accession

This Agreement shall, on expiry of the term for signature mentioned in Article 3, paragraph 1, be open to accession by any Contracting State to the European Patent Convention and any State which is entitled to accede to that Convention. Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Article 5

Prohibition of reservations

No State party to this Agreement may make reservations thereto.

Article 6

Entry into force

(1) This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the last instrument of ratification or accession by eight Contracting States to the European Patent Convention, including the three States in which the most European patents took effect in 1999.

(2) Any ratification or accession after the entry into force of this Agreement shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 7

Duration of the Agreement

This Agreement shall be concluded for an unlimited duration.

Article 8

Denunciation

Any State party to this Agreement may denounce it at any time once it has been in force for three years. Notification of denunciation shall be given to the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of such notification. No rights acquired pursuant to this Agreement before the denunciation took effect shall thereby be impaired.

Article 9

Scope

This Agreement shall apply to European patents in respect of which the mention of grant was published in the European Patent Bulletin after the Agreement entered into force for the State concerned.

Article 10

Languages of the Agreement

This Agreement, drawn up in a single original in the English, French and German languages shall be deposited with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the three texts being equally authentic.

Article 11

Transmissions and notifications

(1) The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany shall draw up certified true copies of this Agreement and shall transmit them to the Governments of all signatory or acceding States.

(2) The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany shall notify to the Governments of the States referred to in paragraph 1:

(a) any signature;

(b) the deposit of any instrument of ratification or accession;

(c) the date of entry into force of this Agreement;

(d) any denunciation received pursuant to Article 8 and the date on which it will take effect.

(3) The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany shall register this Agreement with the Secretariat of the United Nations.

In WITNESS WHEREOF, the Plenipotentiaries authorised thereto, having presented their Full Powers, found to be in good and due form, have signed this Agreement.

Done at London on 17 October 2000, in one original, in English, French and Germany, each text being equally authentic.

 

 

[ 1 ] See OJ EPO 1999, 545.

[ 2 ] Denmark, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

[ 3 ] France, Germany, United Kingdom.