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Unitary Patent - European Patent Convention and European Union

Published: 2023-02-09





The European Patent Convention is the legal framework governing the granting of European Patents by the European Patent Organisation. The EPC currently has 39 member states, all 27 member states of the European Union plus Iceland, The United Kingdom, Norway, Turkey, Switzerland,Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro; one extension state: Bosnia-Herzegovina; 4 validation states: Morocco, Republic of Moldova, Tunisia and Cambodia. Georgia’s validation status is pending.

Adhesion of any of these to the Unitary Patent would depend on joining the European Union first, while signing agreements for validation under the EPC with the European Patent Organisation is not limited to European states.
While at this point predictions about territorial expansion of the UP/UPC system would be speculative, the growth potential of EPC through validation agreements with non-European states would appear to be considerably larger.
It would also appear to be reasonable to assume that any country signing up with the EPC, in one form or another, will insist: a) on having some degree of control of what is protected via translations and b) to be paid official fees for grant and/or maintenance of patent rights.
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