Examination of European patent application
Publication of the European patent application
The European Patent Office shall publish the European patent application as soon as possible after the expiry of a period of eighteen months from the date of filing or, if priority has been claimed, from the date of priority, or at the request of the applicant, before the expiry of that period.
The European patent application shall be published at the same time as the specification of the European patent when the decision to grant the patent becomes effective before the expiry of the period.
Rights conferred by a European patent application after publication
A European patent application shall, from the date of its publication, provisionally confer upon the applicant the protection provided, in the Contracting States designated in the application.
However, the protection attached to the publication of the European patent application may not be less than that which the laws of the State concerned attach to the compulsory publication of unexamined national patent applications. In any event, each State shall ensure at least that, from the date of publication of a European patent application, the applicant can claim compensation reasonable in the circumstances from any person who has used the invention in that State in circumstances where that person would be liable under national law for infringement of a national patent.
Any Contracting State which does not have as an official language the language of the proceedings may prescribe that provisional protection shall not be effective until such time as a translation of the claims in one of its official languages at the option of the applicant or, where that State has prescribed the use of one specific official language, in that language:
(a) has been made available to the public in the manner prescribed by national law, or
(b) has been communicated to the person using the invention in the said State.
The European patent application shall be deemed never to have had the effects when it has been withdrawn, deemed to be withdrawn or finally refused. The same shall apply in respect of the effects of the European patent application in a Contracting State the designation of which is withdrawn or deemed to be withdrawn.
Files relating to European patent applications which have not yet been published shall not be made available for inspection without the consent of the applicant.
Any person who can prove that the applicant has invoked the rights under the European patent application against him may obtain inspection of the files before the publication of that application and without the consent of the applicant.
Where a European divisional application or a new European patent application filed, is published, any person may obtain inspection of the files of the earlier application before the publication of that application and without the consent of the applicant.
After the publication of the European patent application, the files relating to the application and the resulting European patent may be inspected on request, subject to the restrictions laid down in the Implementing Regulations.
Even before the publication of the European patent application, the European Patent Office may communicate to third parties or publish the particulars specified in the Implementing Regulations.
The transfer of a European patent application shall be recorded in the European Patent Register at the request of an interested party, upon production of documents providing evidence of such transfer. The request shall not be deemed to have been filed until an administrative fee has been paid. A transfer shall have effect vis-à-vis the European Patent Office only at the date when and to the extent that the documents have been produced. It also shall apply mutatis mutandis to the registration of the grant or transfer of a licence, the establishment or transfer of a right in rem in respect of a European patent application and any legal means of execution affecting such an application.
A registration shall be cancelled upon request, supported by documents providing evidence that the right has lapsed, or by the written consent of the proprietor of the right to the cancellation of the registration.
A licence in respect of a European patent application shall be recorded as an exclusive licence if the applicant and the licensee so request and also as a sub-licence where it is granted by a licensee whose licence is recorded in the European Patent Register.