The application for the granting of a European patent may be made by any physical person or legal entity, also as first filing, directly at the European Patent Office in Munich or at the National Patent office of a country, such as Italy, belonging to the European Convention.
Upon application, the language of the procedure in front of the European Patent Office must be chosen, selecting one of the three official languages: English, German and French.
In the case of first filing, within 12 months from the date of filing, the application can be extended to one of the member states of the Paris Convention claiming priority of the first European patent application and allowing the patent rights and assessment of the prior art in the foreign country to be calculated from the filing date of the European application.
After 18 months from the patent application of the European patent, the holder of the application can obtain temporary protection in the Member States designated by implementing the relative procedure.
The member states of the European Convention, many of which are not members of the European Community, are: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech (Rep.), Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Hungary. The European patent may be extended in the following countries that are not part of the European Convention: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Moldova and Montenegro.
The European patent thus allows a single patent title to be obtained subject to the national validation procedure in the states of interest, which varies according to the Member States: some states, Germany, France and the United Kingdom automatically consider European patents granted by the EPO as being valid throughout the country; others, such as Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands require the translation of only the claims; others such as, Italy and Spain, require the translation of the whole text in the national language.