London Agreement

An agreement between the members of the European Patent Convention (the “EPC”) agreed in London in 2000, which seeks to simplify the language requirements for converting European Patents into patents enforceable in the member states. Under Article 65 of the EPC, patents must within three months of grant (six months for Ireland) be translated into the official language of each member country of the EPC in which the patentee wishes to enjoy patent protection. Failure to do so renders the patent void “ab initio” in each state for which no translation was prepared. Under the London Agreement, patents effectively would only need to be filed in one of the official languages of the European Patent Office, i.e. English, French and German; however, member states could still require a patents claims to be translated into at least one of their official languages.

The agreement went into effect in 2008. It does not apply uniformly between EPC countries. The table below sets forth what needs to be translated for each country that is a member:

Application can be in any Official Language, i.e., French, English, German

France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland, United Kingdom


Description can be in any Official Language, i.e., French, English, German


Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Slovenia.

Description must be in a specified official language (all English to date)


Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Netherlands, Sweden

Claims must be translated to national official language

Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden


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