LONDON AGREEMENT TO ENTER INTO FORCE IN 2008
« on: Oct 4th, 2007, 8:48am »
* Before the entry into force of the London Agreement
The European patent is published in the language of the proceedings, with claims in all three official EPO languages (i.e. French, German and English).
Presently, all contracting States except Luxembourg and Monaco require a translation of the entire text of the granted patent. Indeed as a patent may have a considerable effect on commercial activities, the translation improves the understanding of the patent. On the other hand, this creates additional costs. Translation costs can add up to 40% of overall patent costs, with the average figure for translation at around €3,800 (depending on the technical field in which the patent has been granted and the length of the patent).
The following 32 States are currently members of the European Patent Organization: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Monaco, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia and Turkey.
If the translation of the European patent is not provided to any of the national patent office within the prescribed time limit, the patent is be deemed to be void in that State.
* Aim of the London Agreement
The London Agreement was concluded in London on 17 October 2000 with the aim of creating a cost attractive post-grant translation regime for European patents.
The London Agreement is an optional agreement between member States of the European Patent Organization, which lightens translation requirements for patents. Signatory States renounce to demand the integral translation of patents in their national language. Instead, only the claims of the patent are to be translated. A translation of the description of the patent will no longer be required.
According to the Agreement, the ratification by France is the last condition for the entry into force of the Agreement.
The French government adopted on 24 August 2007 a bill authorizing ratification of the London Agreement. It is expected to be voted by late November 2007. The deposit of ratification instruments could be expected early 2008. The Agreement would then enter into force three months later.
* For which States?
Among the 32 contracting States, France is the tenth country to ratify the London Agreement. The other 9 countries are Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Slovenia. The parliaments of Sweden and Denmark have also approved the Agreement.
There is no limit in time and number as to other member states of the European Patent Organization joining the Agreement. Other member states are currently considering ratification.