The London Agreement aims at reducing translation costs of European patents, and EPC states that have ratified or acceded to the London Agreement have agreed to waive the requirement to file a translation (previously required under Article 65(1) of the European Patent Convention). On 26 September 2014, Norway became the 21st EPC contracting State to join the London Agreement, and the cost saving is available for European patents granted on or after 1 January 2015.

Applicants will welcome Norway’s decision because of the relatively high cost of translating into Norwegian.

Under the Agreement, no translation is required at all for states having an official language in common with one of the official languages of the European Patent Office (EPO), which are English, French and German. For states that do not have an official language in common with one of the official languages of the EPO, no translation is required if the European patent has been granted in the official language of the EPO prescribed by that State (or has been translated into that language and the translation supplied to the EPO).

On 1 January 2015, the Agreement entered into force for Norway and applies to European patents with effect in Norway granted on or after 1 January 2015. This means that, to validate in Norway, patentees will not need to supply a Norwegian translation of the European patent specification, provided that the patent is granted in English (or an English translation of the patent is supplied according to Article 65(1) EPC). Norway does, however, require that a translation of the patent claims is supplied in Norwegian.

Finally, note that the new rules do not apply to European patents that have been granted before 1 January 2015 but have been amended in opposition, appeal or limitation proceedings after 1 January 2015.

A full list of states that have ratified or acceded to the London Agreement can be found here.