EPO Changes Rules Regarding Inventors

By Cameron Laleye, Trainee and Joanna Deas, Partner

From today, 1 April 2021, it will no longer be necessary to provide the EPO with the full address of the inventor(s) when filing a designation of inventor. Rule 19 has been amended such that only the country and place of residence (city or municipality) of the inventor are required. Consequently, inventors will no longer receive notifications from the EPO informing them of their designation and the details of the relevant application.

Rule 143, which concerns the publication of inventor details, will follow suit in that the full address(es) of the designated inventor(s) will no longer be published on the European Patent Register, alongside the details of the relevant application. Instead, only the country and place of residence will be made publicly available. However, unlike the amendments to Rule 19, the amendments to Rule 143 will not be effective until 1 November 2021, but, should an inventor be designated on or after 1 April 2021 and the application subsequently publish prior to 1 November 2021, their full address will be omitted and be replaced by their country and place of residence.

We, at HLK, welcome this change. It means that less information will be required when identifying inventors for European Patent Applications thus saving time and costs for clients. There is also an added bonus of a little extra privacy for inventors who do not wish to disclose their full personal address. Of course, inventors retain their important position in the patent process and will still be named on patents, patent applications and the Register. As always, we remain excellently placed to deal with any issues or answer any questions you may have surrounding these, or indeed any other, changes that affect you and your business, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

This is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Should you require advice on this or any other topic then please contact hlk@hlk-ip.com or your usual Haseltine Lake Kempner advisor.