Skip to content

How To Get a European Patent If You Are Based in The US

The opportunity to take your US company, innovation or invention into Europe can be hugely profitable and offer massive expansion for your business.

However, it is important to know that US patents do not protect your business in other parts of Europe, such as the UK, France or Germany and you will typically have to apply for a European patent and take certain steps in order to protect your business to expand into Europe. We speak to European patent experts, Kilburn & Strode to get further insight.

kilburn and strode

Does Your US Invention Meet The Criteria For a European Patent?

As a starting point, you need to check whether your invention can be eligible for a European patent. To be eligible, in basic terms, the invention has to be considered 'new' in the eyes of the place you are requesting a patent (i.e Europe). This term is known in legal jargon as 'novelty' and that your invention must have an inventive step and not be the same as anything currently in Europe.

Doing due diligence of the area and geographies is useful before you start haemorrhaging costs into hiring European patent attorneys and other specialists.

Do a European Patent Cover The Whole Of Europe?

Yes, pretty much, the European Patent Office (EPO) covers all states part of the EU which is 24 countries and extended countries on borderline Europe and just outside taking it up to 39, with a total reach of 700 million people. So as an potential investment, it can give you a lot of coverage.

Source: EPO

Step 1 - File a European Patent Application

The process of filing a patent in Europe is not too different to one in the US. You will start with making an application directly with the European Patent Office (EPO) through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

This can be completed through an online filing application and paying a fee which ranges depending on the complexity of the case but are typically in the thousands.

If you choose the PCT Route, you will file an international application and designate it within Europe. This means that you can file the patent in the US and later add Europe within 31 months of the start date, which can give people time to think about pursuing Europe if they wish.

Step 2 - Provide Details For Your European Patent

-Detailed specification of your invention with plans

-The scope of protection you require

-An abstract explaining the invention

-Necessary drawings

From here, the EPO will carry out a formal examination to check compliance and to consider the novelty, application and 'inventive step' of your invention. You may receive quick responses from the EPO and it is always essential to respond swiftly.

Step 3 - Final Bits Once Granted

If the EPO is satisfied with the application, it can be granted within 18 months and you will likely need to get the patent validated in all the European states that you wish to trade in. This could involve translation documents into different languages and paying various fees to be eligible in that area.

After the grant has been approved, any third parties or competitors can challenge it within the first 9 months and you will need to pay annual renewal fees to continue trading in that zone.


Can I Make a European Patent Application Myself?

Yes, of course, you can absolutely apply by yourself, however, many companies and inventors use specialist attorneys and lawyers to help get through the tricky minor detail of patent applications. Whilst a lawyer may not always be cheap, it can save you a lot of money and time down the road and many see it as a viable investment.

How Much is a European Patent in Fees and Going to Cost Me?

The complexity of the product and the patent is so vital, with basic application costs around $4,000 to $6,000 (this is made up of lots of little fees) and an attorney can start at $10,000 or be less, double or triple the number depending on complexity. It is important to do your research, get quotes and speak to multiple lawyers beforehand.

Are There Patent Attorneys That Help With US Patents in Europe?

Yes, Kilburn & Strode is a specialist patent attorney with offices in the UK, Europe and US and has experience with patent applications and success from start to finish. The company works in many sectors with its strenghts in tech, life sciences, chemistry and engineering.

Does a US Patent Apply in Europe?

No, a US patent does not apply in Europe and must be considered new to the market to be considered unique and for a patent.

What Are The Ways To Protect My Invention

-Protect the IP

-Trade marking




-Trade Secrets (NDAs with shareholders)