European Patent Organization Continues to Spread

Link: The European Patent Organization has announced that Lithuania has now joined the European Patent Convention — pushing the number of member states to 30. European patents are now valid in 36 European states, covering a market of more than 560 million inhabitants.

Link: There are (as of 1 December 2004) 30 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom (see European Patent Convention article for the dates of entry in force in each country).  In addition there are six so-called "extension states" which recognise European Patents but are not member of the EPO. These are Albania, Croatia, Latvia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Further countries are expected to join the EPO in due course (probably Latvia, Malta and Norway soon).

In addition, the U.S., Europe, and Japan have agreed to take real steps to coordinate work sharing, electronic business developments to support work sharing, and harmonization or standardization of search strategies, tools and substantive patent law.