FAQs: EP Validation
On grant, your European Patent (EP) does not automatically provide protection for your invention across Europe. Instead, to take legal effect, your EP must be validated in one or more countries of your choice that are contracting states of the European Patent Convention through the European Patent validation process.
Here at Murgitroyd, our experienced and efficient Validation Team is ready to handle all your European Patent validation requirements and answer any questions you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is European Patent Validation?
European Patent Validation (EP Validation) is the process by which a European Patent is converted into a national patent right in one or more of the countries that are party to the European Patent Convention. In order for your European Patent to take legal effect in a country, it must be validated in that country.
What countries can I validate my European Patent in?
You may validate your European Patent in one or more of the countries that are party to the European Patent Convention (EPC), otherwise known as contracting states of the EPC. Further, you may validate your European Patent in a number of countries that have signed agreements with the European Patent Office. There are two groups of these countries: ‘extension states’ and ‘validation states’.
As of 1 September 2023, the 39 member states of the European Patent Organisation are:
Due to changes in extension agreements between the European Patent Office and individual countries in recent years, the number of extension and validation states available varies depending on the effective date of your European Patent application. For European applications filed from 1 October 2022, one extension state is available: Bosnia & Herzegovina. Currently, the validation states available are Cambodia, Georgia, Morocco, the Republic of Moldova and Tunisia.
What countries should I validate my European Patent in?
In order for your European Patent to take legal effect in a particular country, it must be validated in that country. That is to say that you should validate your European Patent in the countries in which you would like to be able to enforce your monopoly right to your invention.
Your rights under your European Patent are infringed by anyone making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing for these purposes the patented product without your consent in a country in which your EP takes effect. Where the subject matter of your patent is a process, your rights under your European Patent are infringed by anyone using, offering for sale, selling, or importing for these purposes the product obtained by the patented process without your consent in a country in which your EP takes effect. Bearing in mind all the different infringing acts may help you when considering the question of where to validate your European Patent.
To choose the countries where you would like to validate your European Patent, you may consider the existing and predicted market for your invention in each country – which countries are key to maintaining or securing a significant share of the European market? In addition, you may consider the activities of your competitors – in which countries are these activities taking place? If you believe your patent is being infringed already, you may consider seeking specific advice about which countries to choose to best address this issue.
The procedure for validating your European Patent is not the same in each country. You may also wish to take procedural requirements and costs into account when selecting countries for validation of your European Patent.
What is the procedure for validating my European Patent?
Within three months of the date of the grant, all necessary action must be taken in the selected countries in order for your patent to take effect in those countries.
The necessary action varies from country to country and may include paying official fees, filing translations of patent documents and/or filing additional documents such as a power of attorney.
What does it cost to validate my European Patent?
The cost to validate your European Patent may comprise official fees, translation costs, and attorney charges. As the requirements of each country at validation are different, all of these costs also vary from country to country. In addition, the costs will vary based on the length and complexity of your European Patent itself. As such, the cost to validate your European patent may vary significantly and can be considerable.
During validation, for some countries, only attorney charges are incurred as no official fees are payable, and no translations are required. Other countries require the payment of official fees on validation of the preparation of translations, and some require the payment of fees for the publication of the translation of the patent specification into their national language.
Which countries need translations?
Some countries do not require any further translations at the validation stage. These countries include the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Albania and Switzerland.
Other countries require the claims of the patent specification to be translated into their national language. The countries include Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Croatia, Sweden, North Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.
The remaining contracting states of the European Patent Convention require a translation of the entire patent specification into their national language. The countries include Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, San Marino and Türkiye.
The cost to prepare a translation may be calculated per word, and different languages may incur different per-word costs. As such, the cost of any translation must be calculated on a case-by-case basis.
How long do I have to decide where to validate my European Patent?
All necessary action to validate your European Patent in your selected countries must be taken within three months of the date of grant. It is not possible to delay this decision. It may take some time to prepare the necessary documents to complete your European validations, so please provide your instructions in good time before any deadline.
What happens after validation?
When validation is complete, your European Patent will take effect, i.e. be in force, in each of your selected countries. At this point, your European Patent has become a “bundle” of national rights. To keep these rights in force, your European Patent must be renewed annually in each country where you wish to maintain your rights. You may allow some rights to lapse through non-payment of renewal fees while maintaining other rights if you wish.
For nine months after the grant of your European Patent, your European Patent may be opposed by any third party. Any opposition proceedings are conducted before the European Patent Office. After the nine-month opposition period has elapsed without your European Patent being opposed, any action taken against your European Patent must be brought before the national court(s) of the countries where your EP is in force.
Why choose Murgitroyd for help with EP validation?
At Murgitroyd our dedicated team of experts possesses in-depth knowledge of all areas of the intricate validation process. With a strong presence throughout Europe thanks to our pan-European office network, we can seamlessly navigate the complexities of EP validations in various jurisdictions, ensuring your intellectual property is protected comprehensively and efficiently. Trust Murgitroyd to provide top-tier validation services. Backed by our vast experience and geographical coverage, we are your foremost partner for safeguarding your innovations across Europe.