London Agreement to Enter Into Force in First Half of 2008

The French government adopted on 24 August 2007 a bill authorising ratification of the London Agreement. It will be discussed in the Assemblée Nationale and French authorities expect it to be voted by late November 2007. The deposit of ratification instruments could be expected early 2008. The Agreement would then enter into force three months later.

The Agreement will apply to all European patents granted after the entry into force.

For EPO President Mrs. Alison Brimelow, "French ratification would be very much welcomed as it would allow entry into force of the London Agreement. It would benefit European economy and make the European patent system more attractive, in particular for SMEs. It would also benefit French economy, competitiveness and innovation in France. Finally, the ratification by France of the London Agreement would reflect the energy and commitment which former EPO president, Professor Alain Pompidou, devoted to this objective."

The London Agreement is an optional agreement between member states of the European Patent Organisation, which lightens translation requirements for patents. Signatory states renounce to demand the integral translation of patents in their national language. Instead, only the claims of the patent are to be translated. A translation of the description of the patent will no longer be required.

The London Agreement will reduce translations costs associated with European patents without impairing their quality. According to the Agreement, and given the current state of the ratification process, the ratification by France is the last condition for the entry into force of the Agreement among its ten signatories so far.

France is the tenth country to ratify the London Agreement. There is no limit in time and number as to other member states of the European Patent Organisation joining the Agreement. Other member states are currently considering ratification. The Agreement resulted of a process started at the Paris Conference of 1999 and was adopted at the London Conference of 2000.

Countries having ratified the London Agreement to date are: Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Slovenia. The parliaments of Sweden and Denmark have also approved the Agreement. Accordingly, the London Agreement can be expected to enter into force shortly in 12 of the 32 member states of the European Patent Organisation.