European Patent Applications
European patent applications can be filed electronically at the German Patent and Trademark Office, which will forward the same to the European Patent Office. In case of an invention which is to be regarded as secret, German subjects have to file the application at the German Patent and Trademark Office, which will examine the question of secrecy and forward the application to the European Patent Office only if the invention is not decided to be secret.
The provisional protection according to Articles 67 and 93 EPC will begin only upon filing a German translation of published claims and upon publication thereof by the German Patent and Trademark Office, or alternatively upon forwarding such translation to the user of the invention.
A German translation of the specification published in English or French has to be filed within three months of publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin. Note: according to the London Agreement, entered into force on May 1, 2008, German translations are no longer necessary for European patents published on or after May 1, 2008.
In case of transformation of a European patent application into a national German application, a request is to be filed at the German Patent and Trademark Office within three months after notification has been made that the European patent application is deemed to be withdrawn or refused or the European patent is revoked. The German Patent and Trademark Office will decide by decree whether transformation is allowed or not.
European patent validation requirements: (a) appointment of a national representative is required if the representative/patentee does not have his residence or principal place of business in any of the EU member States; (b) no translation required of the European patent, according to the London Agreement; (c) the minimum time period for paying renewal fees due at validation is two months, in line with the EPC, and up to the end of the sixth month from the due date, with a small surcharge.