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Notice from the European Patent Office dated 22 February 2021 concerning the amendment of Rules 19 and 143 EPC

March 2021

From 1 April 2021, inventors will no longer be notified by the EPO about being named in a patent application. In addition, applicants will no longer be required to indicate the full address of the inventor in the application, only the country and place of residence.

Amended Rule 19 (comes into force 1 April 2021):
  • Inventors are no longer notified by the EPO about their designation.
  • Applicants are no longer required to indicate the full address of the inventor only the country, city and post code.
  • Online filing tools will be updated so that they no longer have a dedicated field for entering a full address; nor will there be a dedicated field for “Company” or “Department” for inventors.
Amended Rule 143 (comes into force 1 Nov 2021):
  • Full addresses of inventors are no longer published in the EP patent register – only the country and place of residence.

Rule 20(1) still holds and is unaffected by either amended Rule 19 or Rule 143. An inventor can therefore still waive their right to be mentioned.

Reasons for the Changes:

Read the article here.

The EPO sends letters to notify inventors that they have been named on an application which is a considerable administrative burden (530,194 letters were sent in 2019 costing 307,000 EUR). In addition many of these letters are undeliverable due to incorrect addresses (36,000 in total). Updating online filing tools on the EPO IT systems will cost 50,000 EUR initially but save money in the long run.

Furthermore, due to data protection the EPO feel it is unnecessary to have the whole of the inventor’s address published on the EP patent register and that the name and city of the inventor is sufficient.

If you would like further advice on this or any other matter, please contact your usual HGF attorney or visit our Contact Page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.

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