About Filing a European Patent

European patent (EP) attorneys prepare, prosecute and enforce patents in Europe. Only a registered EP patent attorney can represent an inventor before the European Patent Office (EPO).

All countries in the world now utilize a “first to file” patent system, which establishes that the first applicant to file for patent has the presumed right to the grant of a patent, regardless of the actual date of invention. Under International Treaty, foreign patent applications may be filed in other countries within one year of the original filing date and the effective filing date of the foreign application will be the date on which the original patent application was filed. As part of the foreign filing process, foreign applications may be filed either directly as a national application within a given country, or may be filed as an international application such as a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) international application.

Companies or individuals located in the United States of America (US) may file a patent first as a US or PCT international application, which establishes their first effective filing date. For this initial filing, the services of a registered US patent attorney are typically utilized. Within the appropriate period (1 year if a US application is filed, and 30 months if a PCT international application is filed), an EP patent application can be filed which claims priority to and has an effective filing date of the original filed application. For the EP filing, the services of a registered EP patent attorney are typically utilized.

It is usually economically advantageous to file an EP patent application if an applicant wishes to file in multiple European Union (EU) countries. Alternatively, if an applicant desires to only file in 1 or 2 EU countries, then it may be less expensive to file directly in that national country (such as Germany or England). In that event, the services of a patent attorney who is registered in that particular country are typically utilized.

Taylor IP has foreign associates worldwide, and we can assist you in filing patent applications in the EU and individual countries within the EU. Let us help you with your IP needs in Europe!

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