The London Agreement (Further reductions following accession by Norway)

TRANSLATION REGIME REDUCES COST OF POST-GRANT VALIDATION OF EUROPEAN PATENTS.

Following the ratification by France of the London Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC, a new era of reduced translation costs for European patents entered into force on 1 May 2008.

Previously, most contracting states of the European Patent Convention (EPC) require the filing of a translation of the specification in order for a granted European patent to come into force in that state. This validation process and, in particular, the requirement for translations is estimated to account for 25% of the cost of the average European patent application (typically about €7000).

These costs are significantly reduced for European patent applications whose grant is mentioned in the European Patent Bulletin after 1 May 2008. Initially fourteen EPC contracting states implemented the London Agreement, with others expected to join in the future. This provided savings of approximately half of the previous translation costs as of 1 May 2008, depending on the states in which the granted European patent is to be validated.

In states sharing one of the official languages of the EPO (e.g. France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom), the translation requirements have been dispensed with entirely. In other countries, translation of the claims and, in some cases, the description may still be required. However, a number of countries (e.g. Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and the Netherlands) have indicated that an English translation of the description should be filed, thus avoiding the need for separate translations of the description for each of these countries.

Committed States

The translation requirements in the contracting states currently committed to the London Agreement are set out more fully below:-

Albania (AL) – translation of claims into Albanian, translation of description into English
Switzerland (CH) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
Germany (DE) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
Denmark (DK) – translation of claims into Danish; translation of description into English or Danish
Finland (FI) – translation of claims into Finnish; translation of description into English or Finnish
France (FR) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
United Kingdom (GB) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
Croatia (HR) – translation of claims into Croatian; translation of description into English
Hungary (HU) – translation of claims into Hungarian; translation of description into English or Hungarian
Ireland (IE) – translation requirements for national validation abolished from 3 September 2012
Iceland (IS) – translation of claims into Icelandic, translation of description into English or Icelandic
Liechtenstein (LI) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
Lithuania (LT) – translation of claims into Lithuanian
Luxembourg (LU) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
Latvia (LV) – translation of claims and title of the invention into Latvian
Monaco (MC) – translation requirements for national validation abolished
FYR Macedonia (MK) – translation of claims into Macedonian
The Netherlands (NL) – translation of claims into Dutch; translation of description into English or Dutch
Norway (NO) – translation of claims into Norwegian, translation of description into English or Norwegian
Sweden (SE) – translation of claims into Swedish; translation of description into English or Swedish
Slovenia (SI) – translation of claims into Slovene; providing two copies of the drawings in the EP specification together with a translation of any text matter

Non-Committed States

The following contracting states have not yet acceded to or ratified the London Agreement:-

Austria (AT)
Belgium (BE)
Bulgaria (BG)
Cyprus (CY)
Czech Republic (CZ)
Estonia (EE)
Spain (ES)
Greece (GR)
Italy (IT)
Malta (MT)
Poland (PL)
Portugal (PT)
Romania (RO)
Serbia (RS)
San Marino (SM)
Slovakia (SK)
Turkey (TR)
Thus, the existing translation requirements will be maintained in these latter states.