For European patent applications filed since 2009, all available EPC “member states” are automatically included (“designated”) by payment of one official fee (the “designation fee”).

The EPC member states which are available depend on the filing date of the European application, or the filing date of the underlying International (PCT) application for European regional phase applications.

Since October 2010, there have been 38 EPC member states, but from 1 October 2022, with the addition of Montenegro (ME), there will be 39:

Albania (AL) United Kingdom (GB) North Macedonia (MK)
Austria (AT) Greece (GR) Malta (MT)
Belgium (BE) Croatia (HR) Netherlands (NL)
Bulgaria (BG) Hungary (HU) Norway (NO)
Switzerland (CH) Ireland (IE) Poland (PL)
Cyprus (CY) Iceland (IS) Portugal (PT)
Czech Republic (CZ) Italy (IT) Romania (RO)
Germany (DE) Liechtenstein (LI) Serbia (RS)
Denmark (DK) Lithuania (LT) Sweden (SE)
Estonia (EE) Luxembourg (LU) Slovenia (SI)
Spain (ES) Latvia (LV) Slovakia (SK)
Finland (FI) Monaco (MC) San Marino (SM)
France (FR) Montenegro (ME) –
for applications filed from
1 October 2022
Turkey (TR)

After the European patent has been granted, the patent owner can decide to “nationally validate” the granted patent in one or more or all of the designated states (by filing any necessary translations and paying any necessary fees).

Designation fee

Currently, the designation fee is EUR 610.

For European regional phase applications, the deadline for paying the designation fee is usually the same as the deadline for entry into the European regional phase, specifically, 31 months from the earliest priority date, or, if priority is not claimed, 31 months from the international filing date.

For European patent applications filed directly with the EPO, and for European divisional applications, the deadline for paying the designation fee is 6 months from publication of the European search report.

If the deadline is missed, late payment of the designation fee within a short grace period (typically two months) is possible, with 50% surcharge.

Additional Countries

The EPO has a number of agreements with other countries (often referred to as “extension states” or “validation states”). Under these agreements, the European patent application can be optionally “extended” to include one or more or all of those countries (where available) through payment of additional official fees (“extension fees” and “validation fees”).

As mentioned above, after the European patent has been granted, the patent owner can decide to “nationally validate” the granted patent in one or more or all of the designated states. If, in addition the designation fee, the extension or validation fee for a country has been paid, then the patent owner can also decide to “nationally validate” the patent in that country (again, by filing any necessary translations and paying any necessary fees).

Extension States

The extension states which are available depend on the filing date of the European application, or the filing date of the underlying International (PCT) application for European regional phase applications.

Historically, there have been a number of different extension states, and many of them have “graduated” to become EPC member states.

For European applications filed from 1 October 2022, only one extension state is available:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA)
    from 1 December 2004

For European applications filed from 1 October 2010, but before 1 October 2022, two extension states are available:
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA)
    from 1 December 2004
  • Montenegro (ME)
    from 1 March 2010 to 30 September 2022

For European applications with an effective application date before October 2010, one or more or all of the “old” extension states may also be available:

  • Slovenia (SI)
    from 1 March 1994 to 30 November 2002
  • Lithuania (LT)
    from 5 July 1994 to 30 November 2004
  • Latvia (LV)
    from 1 May 1995 to 30 June 2005
  • Albania (AL)
    from 1 February 1996 to 30 April 2010
  • Romania (RO)
    from 15 October 1996 to 28 February 2003
  • North Macedonia (MK)
    from 01 November 1997 to 31 December 2008
  • Croatia (HR)
    from 1 November 2004 to 30 September 2010
  • Serbia (RS)
    from 1 November 2004 to 30 September 2010

Extension fees

A separate extension fee must be paid for each (available) extension state that is wanted.

The individual extension fee is (and has always been) EUR 102.

The deadline for paying the extension fee(s) is the same as the deadline for paying the designation fee, discussed above.

If the deadline is missed, and depending upon the circumstances, late payment of the extension fee(s) within a short grace period (typically two months) may be possible, with 50% surcharge.

Note that, normally, we do not pay any extension fees unless you specifically instruct us to do so. You should therefore tell us which, if any, of the available extension states are wanted when you instruct us to pay the designation fee.

Validation States

The validation states which are available depend on the filing date of the European application, or the filing date of the underlying International (PCT) application for European regional phase applications.

Currently there are only four validation states:

  • Morocco (MA)
    from 1 March 2015
  • Republic of Moldova (MD)
    from 1 November 2015
  • Tunisia (TN)
    from 1 December 2017
  • Cambodia (KH)
    from 1 March 2018

Georgia (GE) is in the process of becoming the fifth validation state – the agreement was signed 31 October 2019, but it has not yet taken effect.

Validation fees

A separate validation fee must be paid for each (available) validation state that is wanted.

The individual validation fees vary from EUR 180 to EUR 240:

Morocco (MA) EUR 240
Republic of Moldova (MD) EUR 200
Tunisia (TN) EUR 180
Cambodia (KH) EUR 180

The deadline for paying the validation fee(s) is the same as the deadline for paying the designation fee, discussed above.

If the deadline is missed, and depending upon the circumstances, late payment of the validation fee(s) within a short grace period (typically two months) may be possible, with 50% surcharge.

Note that, normally, we do not pay any validation fees unless you specifically instruct us to do so. You should therefore tell us which, if any, of the available validation states are wanted when you instruct us to pay the designation fee.

This information is simplified and should not be taken as a definitive statement of law or practice.

Topics: Patents - General , Patents - European , IP Protection

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