The London Agreement EPC: A Boost for European Patent Quality

The London Agreement is a treaty signed by several European countries with the aim of reducing the translation costs of European patents. The agreement primarily affects the European Patent Convention (EPC), which governs the granting of European patents. The London Agreement was signed in London on October 17, 2000, and came into effect on May 1, 2008.

The London Agreement aims to reduce the translation costs of European patents by limiting the number of translations required. Prior to the agreement, European patents had to be translated into all three official languages of the European Patent Office (EPO), namely English, French, and German. This requirement resulted in significant translation costs, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Under the terms of the London Agreement, the patentee can choose to forego the translation of the patent into the two non-official languages, provided the patent is filed in English initially. This change makes it easier and more cost-effective for applicants to obtain patent protection for their inventions in European countries.

The agreement also encourages the use of the EPO as a central filing system for European patents. This helps to streamline the patent application process and makes it more efficient. The EPO also has a higher standard of patent examiners, which ensures a higher quality of patents. This has a positive impact on patent litigation, as it reduces the number of invalid patents.

The London Agreement has had a significant impact on European patenting strategies, particularly for SMEs. It has made it easier and more cost-effective for SMEs to obtain patent protection in European countries, thus promoting innovation. Additionally, the agreement has led to a higher quality of European patents, which is beneficial to patent holders, litigation, and the European economy as a whole.

In conclusion, the London Agreement EPC has been a game-changer for European patenting. It has reduced translation costs and encouraged the use of the EPO as a central filing system, resulting in a higher quality of patents and a more efficient patent application process. This positive impact has led to increased innovation and economic competitiveness in Europe.