It covers all contracting states of the European Patent Convention. The procedure includes a formal examination, a Search Report and a Preliminary Examination Report, both mandatory, and results in the grant of a European patent.

Oppositions may be filed against European patents after they have been granted. In order to be legally enforceable, a European patent needs to be validated in the different states where protection is sought.

It is legally valid for a term of twenty years from the application date.

In order to keep the patent in force, annuities fees have to be paid from the third year.