The European Patent Convention (EPC) was signed in 1973 in Munich, Germany, and has been in force since October 7, 1977. There are currently 34 EPC member states. Bulgaria has been a member of the EPC since July 1, 2002.
The European patent is issued by the European Patent Office (EPO), which is the executive body of the European Patent Organisation (EPO), established as an intergovernmental body in 1977 under the EPC.
The grant of a European patent may be requested for one or more of the Contracting Parties, and the application may be filed directly with the European Patent Office in Munich or with its branches in The Hague or Berlin, as well as with the national offices of the EPC Member States, in one of the three working languages - English, German or French. A patent issued by the European Patent Office shall have the legal force of a national patent in the said Contracting Parties, once the requirements for its validation have been met - translation into the relevant official language and payment of the necessary fees.
Bulgarian applicants can electronically apply for European patents. The following software systems can be used for this purpose:
e-OLF - a software application developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and allowing the application of both European patents and the filing of PCT applications;
ePCT - online platform of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Instructions for using both software systems are given below:
The application is free and can be downloaded from the website of the European Patent Office (EPO).
To ensure the required level of security when transmitting patent data, the eOLF application works with a smart card with a digital certificate issued free of charge by the European Patent Office.
To start using the electronic application:
1. Order your smart card with a personal certificate. Европейското The European Patent Office will provide it to you completely free of charge, together with a card reader (USB device required to use the card on your computer).
To do this, visit the smart card request page and follow the instructions. Delivery of the card with the device may take 2 to 4 weeks.
2. Download the latest version of the eOLF application and read the documentation provided there.
You can install the application and learn how to work with it while waiting for the delivery of the smart card.
The application is fully functional and you can fill in and prepare patent applications in it. The smart card is needed only at the final step - signing and filing the patent application.
1.Once you receive the smart card and the device, install the necessary drivers following the instructions that will be sent to you by the European Patent Office.
More information can be found on the website of the European Patent Office: