Publications & Presentations
April 25, 2017
European Patent Office Assignment Rule Change

By Phillip M. Rice

The European Patent Office (EPO) has changed the requirements to register an assignment of a European patent Application. The EPO has updated the Guidelines for Examination to read: “Article 72 requires that the signatures of the parties appear on the documents submitted as evidence of the transfer.” This new change will require assignment of a European patent application to be signed by both the assignors and the assignees. Articles 71 and 72 along with Rules 22(1) and (2) govern assignments, or transfer, of European patent applications.
Previously, the EPO would register an assignment if requested by the assignee, as long as the assignment was signed by the assignor. This practice mirrored the current practice at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, with this November 2016 rule change, all European assignments will require signatures from the assignor and assignee. As such, for cases originating in the United States with a strong intent to move to Europe, it may be advisable to initially formulate a European appropriate assignment document.

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