European Patent Office

3 April 2017

The European Patent Office ("EPO") was established by art 4 of the European Patent Convention ("EPC"). Its task is to examine applications for, and to grant, European patents, for the territories of the states that are party to the EPC including the UK. It is one of the organs of the European Patent Organization, the other being the Administrative Council. It is managed by its President who is responsible for its activities to the Administrative Council.

The EPO is located in Munich with a branch in The Hague and sub-offices in Vienna, Berlin and Brussels, Its official languages are English, French and German. Applications for European patents must be filed or translated into one of those languages and all proceedings are conducted in the language in which the application is filed or translated.

Like other intellectual property offices, the EPO performs executive and judicial functions.  The executive functions are performed by the following departments:
Its judicial functions are performed by Boards of Appeal who are responsible for the examination of appeals from decisions of the Receiving Section, the Examining Divisions and Opposition Divisions, and the Legal Division and an Enlarged Board of Appeal.

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