Once granted the European patent can be:
(i) validated into separate national patents in the countries of interest to you, which then gives you the same rights as if the application had been filed directly in that European state, and/or
(ii) for those states which are part of the unitary (EU) patent system at the date of grant, be converted into an EU (unitary) patent, which provides a single EU patent covering those states.
The list of member states covered by a European patent application can be found at https://www.epo.org/about-us/foundation/member-states.html.
The list of states which are part of the unitary patent can be found at https://www.epo.org/applying/european/unitary/unitary-patent.html.
Option 1 - Validation
“Validation” is the traditional route by which European patents are converted into separate national rights in each contracting state of interest.
After grant, a European Patent which has been validated in a contracting state provides the same rights as a national patent applied for directly in that state. However, if following this route, it is necessary to validate your European patent in each of the contracting states in which you wish to protect the invention. We can attend to this on your behalf by filing a translation of the patent or the claims with the national offices, as required. We have a network of associates in every contracting state who we will appoint on your behalf to maintain the patent in each state of interest to you.
Option 2 – Unitary Patent
As an alternative to validation in separate states, it is possible to request a unitary patent for those countries which are part of the unitary patent system (see above). This can be done in a single application to cover all unitary patent states.
In order to obtain a unitary patent in the participating countries, we will need to file a translation of the patent specification into another EU language and attend to the formal requirements for conversion to a unitary patent. There is a very short, unextendible deadline of 1 month after the date of grant for attending to this.
After grant, renewal fees will be due to maintain the national patents you have decided to proceed with and/or in respect of the unitary patent. We will monitor all renewal deadlines and keep you informed of any fees that are due.
EUROPEAN GRANT STAGE