Thursday, November 29, 2007

The European Patent Organisation (EPO or EPOrg
The European Patent Organisation is not legally bound to the European Union and has several members which are not themselves EU states.
The evolution of the Organisation is inherently linked to the European Patent Convention. See European Patent Convention for the history of the European Patent system as set up by the European Patent Convention and operated by the European Patent Office.

European Patent Convention
Biotech directive
Community patent
Brussels Regime
European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA)
London Agreement Organs
The European Patent Office (EPO or EPOff.

European Patent Office
The European Patent Office is directed by a president, who is responsible for its activities to the Administrative Council.
Presidents of the European Patent Office:

Johannes Bob van Benthem (1 November 1977 - 30 April 1985), Dutch
Paul Brändli (1 May 1985 - 31 December 1995), Swiss
Ingo Kober (1 January 1996 - 30 June 2004), German
Alain Pompidou (1 July 2004 - 30 June 2007), French
Alison Brimelow (1 July 2007 - 30 June 2010), British President
The official languages of the European Patent Office are English, French and German. However, other languages than these three are not all considered on the same footing. Non-admissible languages, such as Japanese or Chinese, should be distinguished from the "admissible non-EPO languages", such as Spanish, Italian, Dutch and any language that is at least an official language in one Contracting State. European patent applications can be validly filed by some applicants in an admissible non-EPO language provided that a translation is filed thereafter, while they cannot be validly filed in Chinese or Japanese whether a translation is filed thereafter or not.

The European Patent Office includes the following departments, pursuant to Art. 15 EPC: a Receiving Section, responsible for the examination on filing and the examination as to formal requirements of European patent applications, Examining Divisions, responsible for prior art searches and the examination of European patent applications, Opposition Divisions, responsible for the examination of oppositions against any European patent, a Legal Division, Boards of Appeal, responsible for the examination of appeals, and an Enlarged Board of Appeal (see also: Appeal procedure before the European Patent Office). In practice, the above departments of European Patent Office are organized into five "Directorates-General" (DG), each being directed by a Vice-President: DG 1 Operations, DG 2 Operational Support, DG 3 Appeals, DG 4 Administration, and DG 5 Legal/International Affairs.
The European Patent Office does not include any court which can take decisions on infringement matter. National jurisdictions are competent for infringement matter regarding European patents.

Departments and Directorates-General
The European Patent Office acts as a Receiving Office, an International Searching Authority and an International Preliminary Examining Authority in the international procedure according to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The Patent Cooperation Treaty provides an international procedure for dealing with patent applications, called international applications, during the first 30 months after their first filing in any country. The European Patent Office does not grant international patents - which do not exist. After 30 months an international application must be converted into national or regional patent applications, and then are subject to national/regional grant procedures.

Other activities
The Administrative Council is made up of members of the contracting states and is responsible for overseeing the work of the European Patent Office,

Administrative Council
There are, as of June 15, 2007, 32 Contracting States to the EPC, also called member states of the European Patent Organisation: Slovenia, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia were all extension states prior to joining the EPC.

European Patent Office Statistics

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