Apply for a European patent
You can file an EP application either with the PRH, or directly with the European Patent Office (EPO).
You must prepare your application in one of the EPO’s official languages: English, German or French. You can also file your application in Finnish, but it must be translated to one of the official languages within two months. The application will be processed in the language it was originally filed in or into which it has been translated.
The use of a professional representative (patent attorney or agent) is compulsory only for applicants from outside the EPC countries; however, the EPO recommends that all applicants hire a representative. Please note: Only professional representatives registered by the EPO can operate in EPO procedures.Read more on patent agents.
You can submit your EP application to the PRH, either by post or using the eOLF (Epoline Online Filing) software, or directly to the EPO.
Go to our page with information about the application forms, including a link to the EPO forms.
You can check the fees for EP applications hereOpen link in a new tab .
See our contact details for submitting your application.
Read more about the online application through the eOLF .
See the EPO’s contact details and further informationOpen link in a new tab , if you are filing your application directly with the EPO.
A two-step procedure
First, the EPO checks that your application meets the formal requirements.
Then, the application is processed in two steps. The first step, search, results in a European search report and a search opinion that lists the potential patentability obstacles and includes the EPO examiner’s view on the patentability of your invention. The report is based on the patent claims, but it also takes into account the description and any drawings.
If you want to proceed to the second step, substantive examination, you have to pay a patentability examination fee and a designation fee within six months from the publication of the search report. The second step results in a communication on the patentability of the invention issued by the EPO examining division.
When the EPO is ready to grant a patent, the claims must be translated into the two other official languages – into German and French, if the processing language has been English – within four months. Before the grant, you also have to pay a fee for grant and publication.
A European patent has been granted when a mention of the grant has been published in the European Patent Bulletin.
The European patent is not a supranational patent but a bundle of national patents. After its grant, it has to be validated in designated countries. Under article 65 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), member states may require that a patent, in order to be validated, be translated into the countries’ official languages. However, the London Agreement contracting states have refrained, either partly or completely, from requesting these translations.
If a translation is required, it has to be filed within three months from the granting of the EP patent. Fees, if any, for publishing the translation must be paid to the national offices at the same time. Read more about the validation of European patents in Finland.
Annual fees (renewal fees)
You have to start paying annual fees (renewal fees) at the beginning of the third application year. They are paid to the EPO according to its schedule of fees until a European patent is granted. After that, the fees are paid to the countries where the patent is in force, according to each country’s individual price list.
A nine-month opposition period begins immediately after the date of the grant. If you want to have a granted patent revoked, in whole or in part, you have to file a notice of opposition with the EPO. Oppositions are examined by the EPO opposition division, which consists of three examiners. If the opposition is admitted, and the patent is revoked in whole or in part, the outcome will apply to all the countries where the patent has been in force.
After the opposition period, invalidation of a European patent must be applied for in each individual country, and the outcome will apply to that country alone. In Finland, invalidation cases are dealt with by the Market Court.Go to the Market Court’s website. Open link in a new tab
There is a lot of information about the European patent on the EPO website:
- Guide for ApplicantsOpen link in a new tab
- Making paymentsOpen link in a new tab
- Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office:Open link in a new tab instructions on the application practice and procedure
- European patent bulletin,Open link in a new tab where granted EP patents are published
- Decisions by the EPO can be appealed against to the Boards of appeal.Open link in a new tab
- Information about the London AgreementOpen link in a new tab