Since Albania (AL) became an EPC contracting state on 01 May 2010, the European Patent Organisation had unchanged 38 contracting states for over 12 years. However, on 01 October 2022, Montenegro (ME) will become the 39th EPC contracting state, after initially being an extension state from 01 March 2010 onwards.
Montenegro (“Black Mountain”) is located in Southeastern Europe, on the Adriatic Sea and, as a part of the Balkans, shares borders with Serbia (RS) to the northeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA) to the north and Albania (AL) to the southeast, the Adriatic Sea and Croatia (HR) to the northwest, and a maritime boundary with Italy (IT), all of which are already EPC contracting states.
After becoming independent on 03 June 2006, Montenegro became the 192nd member state of the United Nations on 28 June 2006, and, on 04 December 2006, was declared continued application of the Paris Convention (PC), continued application of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and succession of the Brussels Convention, to name but a few intellectual property (IP) related treaties.
As European patent applications – and, similarly, international patent applications – filed on or after 01 October 2022 will include Montenegro as an EPC contracting state, it may be advisable to delay filing of these applications, in particular when claiming priority from an earlier application filed on or after 01 October 2021.
From seven founding states in 1977 to 39 member states as of 01 October 2022, the European Patent Organisation has proven to be a success story of international co-operation and European integration in the fields of innovation and intellectual property.