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European Patent Organisation expands eastwards

The 19 member states of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) have invited eight central and eastern European countries to accede to the European Patent Convention (EPC). These states - Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria - ...
The 19 member states of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) have invited eight central and eastern European countries to accede to the European Patent Convention (EPC). These states - Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria - will be able to join with effect from 1 July 2002.

The EPO, which currently comprises all the European Union member states together with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Cyprus, is moving quickly on the issue of eastward enlargement.

"In the long term, widening the European patent system to include central and eastern Europe will strengthen the new member states' ties with the European Economic Area, as well as smoothing their integration into the European Union," said EPO President Ingo Kober. "At the same time, it would boost the European patent system's standing and attractiveness in the eyes of its users world-wide."

The EPO's existing member states will make use of the period leading up to 1 July 2002 to bring the revision of the EPC currently under way to a successful conclusion.

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