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Diplomatic Conference to revise the European Patent Convention
Munich (ots) - Work on the modernisation of the European patent system moved one step closer to completion on 7 September, when the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation adopted the Basic Proposal for the Revision of the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The planned revision of the EPC was initiated by the European Patent Office and the Administrative Council in 1998, and the Basic Proposal will be used as the basis for discussion at the revision conference in Munich on 20 to 29 November. The text of the document, which will be forwarded to the governments of the contracting states to the EPC and other conference participants at the end of September, can be accessed via the EPO's website (http://www.european-patent-office.org).
The underlying aim of the revision of the EPC is to modernise the European patent system, whilst at the same time retaining those fundamental features of the system which have stood the test of time. The Convention, which has been in existence for almost 30 years, is to be brought up to date, so as to make procedures before the EPO quicker, clearer and more efficient. The high standards of quality for which the system is known will remain unaffected by these changes.
In addition to this, the conditions are to be created to enable the Convention to continue to keep pace with future technical and legal developments, such as when European patent law has to be adapted to international patent treaties or to European Community law. For example, the EPC has not yet been brought into line with the TRIPs Agreement or the new Patent Law Treaty (PLT).
The Basic Proposal also deals with important aspects of substantive patent law, including the protection of computer programs und pharmaceutical substances. It clarifies the extent of the protection conferred by European patents. This will enable the national courts to hand down more consistent decisions in patent infringement proceedings. The further extension of the means of redress in procedures before the EPO and the introduction of a central limitation procedure for European patents will also have a significant impact on patent practice.
ots Original Text Service: EPA Internet: http://recherche.newsaktuell.de
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