There are different routes to patent protection and the best route for you will depend on your invention and the markets your company operates in. The European Patent Office accepts applications under the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). If you are seeking protection in only a few countries, it may be best to apply direct for a national patent to each of the national offices.

A European patent application consists of:

  • a request for grant
  • a description of the invention
  • claims
  • drawings (if any)
  • an abstract.

Applications can be filed at the EPO in any language. However, the official languages of the EPO are English, French and German. If the application is not filed in one of these languages, a translation has to be submitted. Although the services of a professional representative are mandatory only for applicants residing outside Europe, the EPO advises all applicants to seek legal advice.