From 1 October 2022 Montenegro will become a member state of the EPO.

European patent applications (including European Regional Phase applications derived from an International PCT application) which are filed on or after this date will automatically designate Montenegro in addition to 38 other countries. Any PCT application filed on or after 1 October 2022 will automatically include Montenegro for the purpose of obtaining a European patent. Up to and including 30 September 2022, an applicant has to specifically designate Montenegro by paying the Extension fee for this state. Nationals of Montenegro and persons having their principal place of business or residence in Montenegro will also be entitled from 1 October 2022 to file international applications with the EPO as receiving Office.

This is the first expansion of the EPO since 2010 when Serbia and Albania were admitted. The EPC has grown from 7 founding states in 1977 to what will be 39 states when Montenegro joins. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be the one remaining extension state. Among the validation states there are Morocco, Tunisia, Moldova, and Cambodia. Georgia is reportedly set to become a validation state in the near future.

This update was prepared by HGF Professional Standards Officer Dr Edward Pullicino.

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