E for the European Patent Office

Jun 1, 2022

E for the European Patent Office – the European Patent Office (EPO) is the executive body of the European Patent Organization, comprising 38 member states, whose main task is to grant European patents. The institution was established in 1973. Besides its headquarters in Munich, the EPO also has offices in The Hague, Berlin, Vienna, and Brussels. Proceedings before the European Patent Office are conducted in one of three languages: English, French, or German, and they result in a patent granted, which – according to current regulations – must be validated in selected member states, among the 38 states mentioned. We will devote a separate definition to the alternative procedure before the EPO (the Unitary Patent) under the letter “J”. Only European patent attorneys included in the list maintained by the EPO are authorized to appear before this body. In 2020, more than 180,000 patent applications were filed at the EPO! (data for 2021 are not yet available). The European Patent Office is one of the largest public service organizations in Europe, with approximately 6400 employees of 34 different nationalities. Out of the total staff, over 4,200 employees are highly qualified scientists and engineers working as examiners in various fields of technology. The EPO is entirely financed by official fees paid by users. In 2021, the organization’s budget amounted to EUR 2.4 billion.