The European Patent Office (EPO) and the national IP offices of the EPO’s member states (i.e. the European countries which are members of the European Patent Organisation) have taken steps to harmonize their procedures. The goals of this ongoing harmonization project include aligning administrative practices of the various national IP offices in Europe to improve predictability and legal certainty in the European patent system and having simpler and more efficient procedures for applicants. The first two common practices which have been endorsed are on the topics of:
- unity of invention; and
- designation of inventors.
Once a best practice has been established, each office implements the practice on a voluntary basis.
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