Amended form: patent application (description, claims or drawings) has been amended before grant (Articles 123 and 138(2) EPC).
Appeal: ex parte appeal, inter partes appeal or a PCT protest as well as a legal appeal, a disciplinary appeal or an appeal before the Enlarged Board (Article 106 EPC).
Country of origin: country of residence of the first named applicant.
Direct European route (application): patent application filed under Article 75 EPC (also Euro-direct application).
Designation: indication of the contracting state(s) in which the protection for the invention is desired (Article 79 EPC).
EPC: European Patent Convention (38 contracting states on 1 October 2010) enables the patent applicant, by means of a single procedure, to obtain a patent in some or all of the contracting states.
Euro-PCT route: a way to obtain a European patent by designating the EPO in a PCT application (Article 11 PCT).
Euro-PCT application - international phase (or Euro-PCT application or PCT international): a PCT application designating the EPO (Article 150(3) EPC).
Euro-PCT application - regional phase (or PCT regional): PCT application entering the European (or regional) phase once the applicant has fulfilled the conditions under Article 22 or 39 PCT, Article 158 and Rule 107 EPC.
Euro-PCT search (or PCT Chapter I): search carried out by the EPO acting as International Searching Authority for a Euro-PCT application in the international phase (Article 16 PCT).
European examination: on written request the EPO shall examine a European patent application (Article 94 EPC).
European first filings: first filing under Article 75 EPC.
European search: search carried out by the EPO on a direct European application (Article 92 EPC).
Ex parte case: appeal filed against a decision taken by an examining division where only one party is involved.
Extension states: patent application can be extended, by designation, to the following states in Central and Eastern Europe: Albania (AL), Bosnia-Herzegovina (BA), Croatia (HR), Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MK) and Serbia and Montenegro (YU).
Final action: the last decision taken by the examining division in the examination procedure, either refusing the patent application or indicating the intention to grant a patent (Article 97 EPC).
First action: the first communication sent to the applicant in the examination procedure (Article 96(2), Rule 51(4) EPC).
Inter partes case: appeal filed against a decision taken by an opposition division, where two or more parties are involved.
International preliminary examination (or PCT Chapter II): non binding examination which can be requested for a PCT application (Article 31 PCT).
International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA): office with competence to carry out the international preliminary examination for a PCT application. It may be either a national office (AT, AU, CA, CN, ES, FI, JP, KR, RU, SE, US) or an intergovernmental organisation (EPO) (Article 32 PCT, Article 155 EPC).
International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA.E): the EPO is the competent office, see International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA).
International search report with written opinion: search report drawn up by a PCT International Searching Authority (Article 18 PCT and Article 157 EPC).
International Searching Authority (ISA): office with competence to carry out the international search for a PCT application. It may be either a national office (AT, AU, CA, CN, ES, FI, JP, KR, RU, SE, US) or an intergovernmental organisation (EPO), (Article 16 PCT, Article 154 EPC).
IPC technical unit (classification): all patent applications are classified in this internationally recognised classification system, which enables efficient searches to be carried out on all existing patent documents.
National application: filed at a national patent office according to a national procedure.
Opposition: under Articles 99 and 100 EPC, within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of a European patent in the European Patent Bulletin, any person may give notice to the EPO of opposition to the European patent granted, invoking lack of patentability, e.g. lack of novelty or inventive step (Articles 52-57 EPC); or lack of sufficiently clear and complete disclosure of invention (Article 83 EPC); or that the granted patent extends beyond the application as filed (Article 123(2) EPC).
Patent granted: when the examining division is of the opinion that the application and the invention to which it relates meet the requirements of the EPC, it shall decide to grant the European patent, Article 97(2) EPC. The grant will be effective from the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the grant (Article 97(4) EPC).
PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty, which encompassed 138 contracting states on 11 October 2007, enabling a patent applicant, by means of a single procedure, to obtain a patent in some or all of the contracting states.
PCT application or filing: international application filed under the PCT (Article 3 PCT).
PCT route: one possible way of filing a patent application within any of the PCT contracting states.
PCT international search: search carried out by the EPO acting as International Searching Authority.
PCT national phase: PCT application entering the national phase once the applicant has fulfilled the conditions under Article 22 or 39 PCT, Article 31 PCT.
Processing time: time elapsing between arrival of the file in the organisational unit and completion of a given phase of the grant, opposition or appeal procedures.
Protest: can be filed by an applicant if he does not agree with the request to pay an additional fee following a decision on lack of unity of invention taken during either the international search or the international preliminary examination (international phase of the PCT) (Articles 17(3)(a) and 34(3)(a), Rules 40.2 and 68.3 PCT, Articles 154(3) and 155(3) EPC).
Publication: a patent application is published twice during the procedure:
Revocation: a patent is revoked if the subject-matter of the patent application is not patentable or if it does not disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art or if the subject matter goes beyond the content of the application filed. The patent can also be revoked if the patent applicant fails to meet all formal requirements (Article 102 EPC).
Search report: a report of the results of the search drawn up by the search division if the patent application has been accorded a date of filing and is not deemed to be withdrawn (Article 92(1) EPC).
Supplementary search: search carried out by the EPO on a Euro-PCT application entering the regional phase for which the ISA was not AT, EP, ES or SE (Article 157(2) EPC).
Technical appeal: ex parte appeal, inter partes appeal or a PCT protest.
Withdrawal: to effect a withdrawal, the applicant may at any stage of the procedure do one or more of the following:
A patent application can be withdrawn at any stage except where a third party proves to the Office that he has initiated proceedings concerning entitlement and then until such time as the Office resumes the proceedings for grant (Rule 14 EPC).