Croatia and Norway have ratified the European Patent Convention. EPO member states now include all 27 members of the European Union, plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey, bringing the number of European Patent Organisation member states to 34. Additionally, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia also recognise the EPO. Thus European patents are valid in 38 countries, representing a market of over half a billion people.
Since the London Agreement has come into force, issued European Patents will soon no longer need translation into a local official language prior to ratification by member states. This is anticipated to bring significant cost savings when filing widely.
Now the 38 countries recognizing the EPO patents is nearly a quarter of the PCT countries, and includes a very large chunk of the developed world.
As a result of her unique geopolitical situation, Israel is in the advantageous position of being able to choose either Europe or the US as International Search Authorities when filing a PCT application, to secures provisional rights world-wide.
Both the US and the EPO search fees have gone up recently and, although the EPO search is still the more expensive, much of the difference is recuperated when filing a European regional phase application.
Since the Israel Patent Office accepts the validity of European patents under Section 17(c) anyway, perhaps Israel should simply join the EPO?