The EPO has signed an agreement on validation with the Tunisian Patent Office, which will eventually allow European patent applications and patents to take legal effect in Tunisia. The agreement still has to be ratified before it can enter into force.

The EPO has introduced a new scheme to improve legal certainty on pending patent applications. Under the “Early Certainty from Search” scheme, the EPO will aim to issue search reports and opinions within six months of filing, will prioritise the completion of examination which it has already started (over beginning work on new files) and will expedite grant in cases where a positive search opinion has been issued. In addition, it will prioritise processing of cases where substantiated third party observations have been filed. Oppositions and requests for limitation or revocation will also be given priority.