For some time now, there have been 38 EPC member states. However, from 1 October 2022, Montenegro (ME) will become the 39th EPC contracting state.
Montenegro’s journey to becoming an EPC contracting state began in 2009, when Montenegro signed an Agreement to gain status as an Extension State. Montenegro then became an available Extension State on 1 March 2010, meaning that an additional Extension fee had to be paid to designate Montenegro for European (or Euro-PCT) applications filed on or after 1 March 2010. This system is still in effect for any European or International patent application with a filing date from 1 March 2010 to 30 September 2022.
After more than 12 years as an Extension State, Montenegro will soon become a full EPC contracting state, meaning that European or International patent applications filed on or after 1 October 2022 will automatically include Montenegro as a designated state upon payment of the single designation fee (which currently stands at EUR 630).
This leaves only one Extension State, being Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA), which became an Extension State on 1 December 2004. At this time, we do not know when, or if, Bosnia and Herzegovina will become a full EPC contracting state.
In addition to Extension States, there are also currently four validation states available, which are Morocco (MA), Republic of Moldova (MD), Tunisia (TN) and Cambodia (KH). Georgia (GE) is currently in the process of becoming the fifth Validation State, but it is not yet known when this will take effect.
Going forward, Applicants can continue to file European or International patent applications up to and including 30 September 2022, and designate Montenegro by paying the Extension fee for this state (currently at EUR 102). If you are interested in pursuing protection in Montenegro as part of your patent portfolio, please do not hesitate to contact your Boult Wade Tennant Advisor to discuss this matter further.