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London Agreement and Patent translations

Written by Tim Mount on 29 October 2008

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EPC London agreement/ translation requirements

Came into force 1 May 2008 and applies in the following contracting states: Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The terms of the London Agreement mean contracting states relinquish the requirements that a European patent must be translated in its entirety into the respective country’s national language in order to gain legal force. I n countries that share a national language in common with one of the EPO’s three official languages (i.e. English, French or German) no translation at all will be required.

Other countries will require a translation of the patent claims and they also have the right to specify whether the rest of the text is to be translated into English, French or German. In the event of any dispute, however, the counterparty or the court has the right to request a translation of the full text.

Typically the London Agreement saves a European Patent owner between 30 and 40%. Before this If patent owners sought protection for their inventions in all member states of the European Patent Organisation, they would need to have their European patent fully translated into 22 languages, often at a cost of at least €100,000.

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