London Agreement - four years on

The Agreement on the Application of Article 65 of the European Patent Convention, more commonly referred to as the London Agreement, entered into force on 1 May 2008. Prior to the London Agreement, when validating a granted European Patent in any of the designated member states of the European Patent Organisation (EPO), it was necessary to provide a full translation of the text of the European patent into the official language of that state. The intention of the London Agreement was to remove this requirement, thereby significantly reducing the cost of validation in the member states upon grant of a European patent.

There are three types of members of the London Agreement:

  1. members that do not require a translation;
     
  2. members that do not require a translation, provided the European patent is in a language that they will accept (English, French or German); or
     
  3. members that do not require a translation, provided the European patent is in a language that they will accept (English, French or German) and the claims are translated into one of their official languages.

Since its introduction in 2008, only a handful of member states have signed up to the London Agreement. A current list of the members is available at the European Patent Office website.

Despite the lack of numbers, two of the biggest European economies, France and Germany, are members and in most cases this has greatly reduced validation costs upon grant of a European patent. It is hoped that more countries will sign up to the London Agreement so that validation costs will reduce further still, benefiting European applicants.

If you are expecting to be granted, or have recently been granted, a European patent and would like to discuss your validation options and how the London Agreement could save you money, please contact our European patent attorneys.


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