The European Patent Organisation today welcomed two new members as Croatia and Norway acceded to the European Patent Convention (EPC) on 1 January 2008, taking the total number of EPO member states to 34.
European Patent Office President Alison Brimelow said, "We welcome Croatia and Norway as new members who can contribute to shaping the IP framework that will sustain and improve Europe's growth and competitive position."
"The accession of Norway and Croatia extends the protection of intellectual property under the EPC to both the north and south of Europe," she added.
Both countries have acceded to the revised version of the EPC, which entered into force on 13 December 2007.
The European Patent Organisation's members now include all 27 members of the European Union, plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also recognise European patents on their territory, making European patents valid in 38 countries and a market of around 570 million people.