In an increasingly globalized world, it is necessary to ensure the protection of Industrial Property in the largest number of countries.

The patent is a useful tool to protect one’s own invention, which falls within the wider category of Industrial Property, which also includes the trademark.

The patent and the trademark are two different forms of protection and with different objects: the first concerns the protection of the invention itself and the second the protection of the name of a particular product. 

It should be clarified at this stage that the patent is always a national title (constituting a territorial right), subject to national laws and national Courts judging on any disputes.

The European patent is governed by the 1973 Convention of the same name, revised in Munich on 29 November 2000, ratified by the countries of the European Union and some European countries that are not members of the EU.

The European patent is not a separate entity (such as the European trademark) but a single procedure for applying for more national patents at the same time. If this procedure is successful, the patent must be validated in each of the Member States and subsequent patent protection should be applied in each country.

Article 52 of that Convention states that "European patents are granted for inventions in every technological field, provided that they are new, involving an inventive activity and are capable of industrial application".

 The European patent procedure is handled by the European Patent Office (EPO), and is initiated with the application of the person concerned.

The patent application may be filed independently or within 12 months of the filing of the corresponding and previous national patent (according to the right of priority). 

Any person may file such a request, irrespective of his residence or nationality, but a person who is not resident or with nationality of one of the Countries that are parties to the EPO Convention shall be represented by an EPO Authorized Representative.

The application and the annexes are then examined by EPO, the application is made publicly available 18 months after filing, and a few further months are needed before the EPO gives its final opinion.

At the end of the procedure, EPO may grant the application and grant the patent or reject it.

The duration of the European patent shall be 20 years, starting from the date of filing of the application.

In conclusion, the discipline examined is certainly to be taken into account for those who wish to extend the protection of their patent in most European countries as well as in all those of the EU in a simplified way, with considerable economic and temporal advantages.

Milano, 16 April 2020 








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