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European Patent Office

The EPO supports innovation, competitiveness and growth across Europe. Find out how the EPO's patent databases can help provide business solutions.

European Patent Office

The European Patent Office, with branches in five cities, delivers high quality patents on behalf of 38 member states, using a single thorough examination and grant procedure. Our applicants, however, come from all over the world! Over half the technology companies protecting their valuable inventions in European markets via the EPO are based outside Europe.

Innovation is the route out of the current economic crisis towards market growth. In 2013 the EPO received a record number of filings: over 265,000. The applications cover new medical technologies, computer technology, electrical machinery and transport. Our Annual Report 2014 explains more

Patents: what & how?

European Patent Office: a portrait

Patents give inventors exclusive rights over their technical solutions - be they machines, products, processes or methods. Knowing that they can control who uses their new technology means they will have the confidence to invest in the first place, and later dominate the market or profit from licensing deals.

In exchange for these rights inventors disclose their secrets through patent applications. These are published, so that we can all understand how an invention works from the description and drawings. The technical information seen in patents might not be published anywhere else, and is often available before a product is seen on the market. The majority of the documents in the databases are not in force (they never became a patent, or the patent already lapsed or expired) meaning that the technology is free to use!

Patent Translate



Patent Translate is a milestone towards the removal of language barriers worldwide from patent documentation.

Benoît Battistelli President European Patent Office

Patent Translate is a free online machine translation service, specifically "trained" to handle complex and technical patent vocabulary. The service provides instant translations between English and all 27 other European languages plus Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian; as well as between French or German into 17 other European languages.

Patent Translate removes language barriers

The innovative tool, setup in partnership with Google, is constantly learning and improving as it translates more and more documents. Twenty years ago the internet removed one great barrier to access to information - now with Patent Translate the language barrier is being overcome as well.