European Patent Convention
The European Patent Convention (EPC), also known as the Convention on the Grant of European Patents of 5 October 1973, is a multilateral treaty instituting the European Patent Organisation and providing an autonomous legal system according to which European patents are granted. The term European patent is used to refer to patents granted under the European Patent Convention. However, a European patent is not a unitary right, but a group of essentially independent nationally-enforceable, nationally-revocable patents, subject to central revocation or narrowing as a group pursuant to two types of unified, post-grant procedures: a time-limited opposition procedure, which can be initiated by any person except the patent proprietor, and limitation and revocation procedures, which can be initiated by the patent proprietor only.The EPC provides a legal framework for the granting of European patents, via a single, harmonised procedure before the European Patent Office. A single patent application, in one language, may be filed at the European Patent Office at Munich, at its branches at The Hague or Berlin or at a national patent office of a Contracting State, if the national law of the State so permits.