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Patenting issues

International route (JPG)

Your source of information on patenting issues in the news.

Computer programs

While some countries grant patents for software - a hotly debated topic - the practice in Europe is different. To get a European patent for a computer-implemented invention (CII), inventors need to show that their invention actually makes a contribution in a technical field.


Biotechnology has consistently ranked among the ten largest technical fields at the EPO in the last few years, yet the professional and public debate about the patentability of biotechnological inventions continues.


The number of nanotechnology patent applications filed with the EPO is still relatively small, but experts predict that nanotechnology will become the next big growth field after biotechnology. The EPO, ensures that applications are treated by examiners with experience in the specific field, and has created a new nanotechnology database.

Traditional knowledge

Traditional knowledge (TK) encompasses such things as food and agriculture, the environment, conservation of biological diversity, and traditional medicines. Working together with other bodies, the EPO is attempting to document TK and to provide examiners with access to the documentation so that they can use it when they examine related patent applications.

Clean energy

The EPO continues to examine the link between patents and clean energy by means of ongoing analyses and surveys. It has also developed a new classification scheme which enables users to identify and retrieve information on clean energy patents.

EU patent

The EU patent - formerly the Community patent - is a patent reform package currently under debate within the European Union. If adopted, it would allow a single patent valid in all EU member states.

European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA)

The European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) is a voluntary agreement which has not yet been ratified by the member states of the European Patent Organisation. It aims to establish a European Patent Court, an integrated judicial system - including uniform rules of procedure - and a common appeals court.

London Agreement

The London Agreement (Article 65 EPC) is aimed at reducing the costs relating to the translation of European patents.

Scenarios for the future

As part of a three-year project, the EPO interviewed over 100 key players in the fields of science, business, politics, ethics, economics and law, seeking their opinions on the key factors and challenges likely to have an impact on patenting and IP in the future. The result: four challenging, relevant and plausible scenarios describing four possible future worlds.