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London Agreement Adopted By French National Assembly

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

01 October 2007


Last Wednesday, France's National Assembly met in extraordinary parliamentary session to debate two pieces of legislation relating to European patent law:

The legislation in question was draft law No. 64, authorising ratification of the European Patent Convention as revised in November 2000 (EPC 2000), and draft law No. 151, authorising ratification of the October 2000 London Agreement.

The former went through without discussion, while the latter was debated until late in the evening, before the draft law was finally put to the vote and adopted by the Assembly.

The two draft laws now go to the Senate, which will discuss them on 9 October 2007.

The aim of both texts is to improve the European patent system established in the 1970s. The EPC 2000 modernises the European patent grant procedure for which the European Patent Office is responsible, whilst the London Agreement gives easier access to European patents – especially for small and medium-sized firms – by reducing translation costs for granted European patents.

If the London Agreement ratification legislation is approved by the Senate, the deposit of ratification instruments could take place in early 2008. The Agreement would then enter into force three months later.

Countries which have ratified the London Agreement to date are: Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Slovenia. The parliaments of Sweden and Denmark have also approved the Agreement.

Accordingly, the London Agreement can be expected to enter into force shortly in 12 of the 32 member states of the European Patent Organisation.


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