A European Patent - like a German Patent - is granted for technical inventions which are novel, inventive and commercially applicable after passing an examination procedure.

The granting of European Patents is ruled by the European Patent Convention (EPC). A European Patent can be granted for each member state of the European Patent Convention. A current list of contracting states of the European Patent Convention can be found at http://www.epo.org/about-us/epo/member-states_de.html

In the contracting states, in which patent protection is desired, the European patent must be put into force at the latest 3 months after the date on which the mention of the grant of the patent is published. Depending on the rules of the particular contracting state it may be required to submit a translation of the claims and in some cases also a translation of the description at the respective national patent office.

The term of a European Patent is a maximum of 20 years. To maintain the European Patent, an annual renewal fee must be paid from the third year of the patent term onwards.

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