French Parliament Approves London Agreement

On Tuesday, 9 October 2007, the French Senate followed the National Assembly in approving

i)draft law No. 473 authorising ratification of the European Patent Convention as revised in November 2000 (EPC 2000)
ii)draft law No. 474 authorising ratification of the October 2000 London Agreement

Once the instruments of ratification have been deposited, both the EPC 2000 and the London Agreement will enter into force for France over the next few months: the EPC 2000 on 13 December 2007, the London Agreement on the first day of the fourth month following deposit of the instrument of ratification.

The aim of both texts is to improve the European patent system established in the 1970s. The EPC 2000 modernises the European patent grant procedure for which the European Patent Office is responsible, whilst the London Agreement makes it easier to obtain a European patent - especially for small and medium-sized firms - by reducing post-grant translation costs.

The entry into force of the two texts will mark a significant milestone in the process of reforming the European patent system, launched in 2000 at an intergovernmental conference hosted by France. Work meanwhile continues on creating a common judicial framework for European patents and on establishing a Community patent system.