The London Agreement Facilitating Inventors to Obtain Protection in More Countries in the EU Will Come Into Effect in the Beginning of May 2008

According to the current status, after the grant of the patent is published, the applicant has to decide on which EU member countries he wishes to seek protection at, and upon decision, a full translation of the patent to the national language has to be filed within a prescribed time limit.  For example, if the applicant wanted to obtain protection in France, a full translation into French or one of its formal languages has to be filed.


To date the agreement has been ratified by Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The Agreement will not come into force until eight EPO Contracting States, including France, Germany and the UK have ratified. 


On 9 October, 2007, the French Senate approved ratification of the London Agreement. Following ratification by France, a sufficient number of states will have ratified for the Agreement to enter into force. This will occur three months following deposit of the official instrument of ratification by the French government, and could take place in early 2008.


According to the agreement the translation costs will be reduced on one of two cases.

(1) In a case where a contacting state acknowledges one of the EU formal languages (English, French and German) also as its formal language, a granted patent filed in one of these three languages will suffice to receive protection in this country and no translation will be required.


(2) Where a formal language of a contacting state is NOT one of the three EU official languages, the applicant will be exempt from filing a translation to the national language of the specification; however, the local patent office may require a translation of the claims to the country’s formal language.