On 11. February 2010, the Government of the Republic of Albania (AL) deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Albania accedes to the European Patent Convention

1. Accession to the EPC

The EPC will accordingly enter into force for Albania on 1 May 2010.

The European Patent Organisation will thus comprise the following 37 member states from 1 May 2010:

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Further information concerning the effects of this accession and Albania's national provisions for the implementation of the EPC will be published in later issues of the Official Journal.

2. Important information

European patent applications filed on or after 1 May 2010 will include the designation of the new contracting state. It will not be possible to designate Albania retroactively in applications filed before that date.

To allow the new contracting state to be designated, however, the EPO will accord European patent applications filed in April 2010 the filing date of 1 May 2010 if the applicant expressly requests that filing date when filing the application.

3. PCT

Nationals of Albania and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Albania will also be entitled, as from 1 May 2010, to file international applications with the European Patent Office as receiving Office.

Any PCT request (PCT/RO/101) filed on or after 1 May 2010 will automatically designate the new EPC contracting state for the purpose of obtaining a European patent (Rule 4.9(a)(iii) PCT).

No European patents for Albania can be granted on the basis of international applications with a filing date prior to 1 May 2010. However, a national patent can be granted, assuming that Albania has been designated in the international application. The designation of Albania at the time an international application with a filing date prior to 1 May 2010 enters the European phase is legally invalid.

4. Effect of accession to the EPC on the AL EPO extension agreement

The extension agreement between Albania and the European Patent Organisation will terminate with the entry into force of the EPC in Albania on 1 May 2010. It will therefore no longer be possible to extend European patent applications and patents to Albania. The extension system will, however, continue to apply to all European and international applications filed prior to 1 May 2010, as well as to all European patents granted in respect of such applications.

[source: European Patent Office]

Article Published March 12th, 2010