The European Patent Office (EPO) has recently published upcoming changes to the rules regarding the providing of inventor address information to the EPO, and the publishing of inventor address information by the EPO.
Changes to the designation of the inventor:
European patent applications must designate the inventor(s). Presently, this ‘designation of the inventor’ must identify each inventor by stating their family name, given names, and full address. If the applicant is not the sole inventor then the EPO will write to each non-applicant inventor (provided the inventor has not waived their right to be mentioned), with notification of the information provided about them in the ‘designation of the inventor’ and certain information about the patent application (e.g. application number).
In order to save costs, the EPO will be stopping this practice of notifying any non-applicant inventors. Accordingly, from 1 April 2021 it will not be necessary to provide the full address of the inventor(s) named in the ‘designation of the inventor’. Instead, the EPO will require the ‘designation of the inventor’ to identify each inventor by stating their family name, given names, and country and place of residence.
Changes to the information published on the European Patent Register:
In the absence of a waiver of the right to be mentioned, the European Patent Register will identify all inventors for European patent applications. At present, this includes the full address information currently required for the designation of inventor.
To mitigate data protection concerns, and to align with the above change in requirement for the designation of inventor, inventor information published on the Register from 1 November 2021 will no longer include the full address of the inventor(s). Instead, the Register will simply state each inventor’s family name, given names, and country and place of residence.
Thus, in the future, less information will be necessary when identifying inventors for European patent applications. If you have any questions about this, or other requirements for designating inventors on European patent applications, please contact your usual Boult Wade Tennant representative.