Demand Met: The Main Translation Costs for EU Patents Are Dropped

Two years ago, experts from BIO Deutschland’s Working Group on Intellectual Property and Technical Contracts submitted a statement for consultation by the European Commission to Erik Nooteboom, Head of the EU Unit on Industrial Property at the Internal Market Directorate-General. The document recommended, inter alia, the rapid ratification of the London Agreement by which the costs for bundles of patents were to be drastically reduced. Now that the required number of member states of the European Patent Agreement has ratified the London Agreement and the instruments of ratification have been officially deposited, it will come into effect on 1 May 2008.

The London Agreement means that the member states in the agreement that share an official language with one of the three official languages of the European Patent Office are now no longer required to translate a patent during its national registration.

Each of the member states of the London Agreement that does not have an official language in common with one of the three official languages of the European Patent Office is to stipulate one of these official languages and forego a translation of the patent if the European patent is written in this language or translated into it and is submitted according to the regulation of Article 65, Clause 1 of the European Patent Convention. At the same time, these member states will preserve their right to demand that the patent claims are translated into their own official language. The London Agreement member states may demand a complete translation of the patent to their own official language only in cases of legal proceedings involving patent infringement.

In accordance with current German legislation, the London Agreement will only come into effect in Germany on the first day of the fourth month after it comes into force, that is, on 1 September 2008. The agreement will come into force in the other member states of the European Patent Convention according to individual national regulations.

According to figures provided by the European Patent Office, translation costs involved in the nationalisation of European patents will decrease on average by an expected 45% following the accession of all the member states of the European Patent Convention.

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