Published by Robert Games on 28th July 2011
The London Agreement aims to reduce the cost of translation following the grant of a European patent. It is otherwise known as the “Agreement on the Application of Article 65 of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents”.
Contracting States of the European Patent Convention (EPC), which is essentially the law governing the application, prosecution and grant of European patents, that have ratified the London Agreement, undertake to waive, either partly or in full, translation of a granted European patent. The level of waiver depends on the language of the patent and the official languages of the Contracting State.
For example, the UK is a Contracting State that has ratified the London Agreement. The de facto ‘official’ languages in the UK are English and Welsh. If a European patent is prosecuted in French, then to complete the grant process before the European Patent Office (EPO), the claims must be translated into English and German. In order then to ‘validate’ the European Patent in the UK and/or Germany, no further translations are required under the London Agreement. However, a full translation into Italian would be required if the patent were to be validated in Italy. If patent protection in the Netherlands or Sweden were required, then as part of the validation procedure, a translation of only the patent claims into Dutch or Swedish respectively would be necessary.
The Agreement entered into force on 14 May 2008 and applies to all European patents in respect of which the mention of grant was published in the European Patent Bulletin on or after 14 May 2008. There are currently fifteen countries that are party to the Agreement.