European Patents

Guide to filing you patent application Europe-wide at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Once you filed your initial patent application with the UK IPO you can choose, within 12 months, to extend your application out to cover the EU member states by filing with the European Patent Office (EPO). By filing with the EPO you make use of the European Patent Convention. The UK is a member along with all the members of the EU and also: Iceland, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Turkey.

You can switch your application effectively to the EPO using your original UK filing date. Applications can be made in English, French or German. You can continue both your UK IPO application and your EPO application but at some stage you will have to choose to be granted a UK patent or a European patent which is enforcable in the UK. You cannot have both.

The EPO will go through similar steps as the UK IPO and hopefully, eventually issue a granted patent. Costs are 1200 for the application fees, assuming all member countries are designated, and then 1000 official fee for the examination. Patent Attorney fees will be on top of this if you are using one.

International Patenting
An introduction to the world of international patent filing.
Once you have started down the patent route you will probably want to extend the reach of your patent to other countries. This guide provides an introduction to filing your patent in other countries.
Worldwide Patents - the PCT
Introduction to the PCT - Patent Co-operation Treaty
If you wish to extend your patent out to countries outside of Europe and you are looking to file in more than 1 or 2 other countries then the best way is likely to be an international application via the PCT. Read all about it here.
Patent Costs
A rough guide to the cost of patenting your idea
Patenting your idea in the UK yourself is quite cheap. However once you go international the fees can get huge. If you choose to use a patent attorney then that can also be very expensive. Here's a rough guide...

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