Transfer of Patent Applications at the European Patent Office

EPO Updated Guidelines for Examination

A European patent application may be transferred for one or more of the designated contracting states.

The European Patent Office registers a transfer of rights in respect of a pending European patent application in the European Patent Register on request, upon fulfilment of the prerequisites of Rule 22. The request is not deemed to have been filed until an administrative fee has been paid.

Where the request relates to multiple applications, a separate fee (Euro 110) has to be paid for each application.

Rule 22 furthermore requires the production of documents providing evidence of such a transfer.

The written evidence may be set out as an assignment, but it may be any legal document that would serve to prove the transfer has taken place. The document must be signed by the transferring party/parties and also by the receiving party/parties. Electronic signatures are accepted if they satisfy the requirements laid out in Regulation (EU) No 910/2014.

An indication must be given as to each signatory’s entitlement to sign. This will typically involve naming the job title of any signatory of the assignment. The EPO has the right to request documentary proof of the signatory’s authority to sign. Presently, the EPO will not usually request proof of a signatory’s authority to sign where the relevant indication of the signatory is given e.g. a Director, Managing Director, President or CEO of the relevant company. If the signatory is entitled to sign as a result of a special authorisation, a copy (which does not need to be certified) of the authorisation should also be submitted in order to obviate the need for the EPO to request such proof.

Once a transfer has been duly entered in the European Patent Register, the registration cannot be undone, even if it appears that one or more requirements were actually not fulfilled for reasons not apparent at the time when the transfer was registered by the EPO.

NB After grant of the European patent requests for recordal of a transfer should be submitted to the national offices where the European patent is in force.

If you would like to learn more about this, or have another question about patents, get in contact now.

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