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The Austrian Patent System

Austrian IP Office

The governmental agency in charge of handling intellectual property rights in Austria is the Austrian Patent Office, located in Vienna.

Filing Patents in Austria

An application for a patent in Austria must contain the name and address of the applicant and the inventor, as well as the citizenship of the inventor and place of incorporation of the applicant, if applicable. The necessary elements of an application are: a title, a summary of the invention, a specification, claims, and any necessary drawings.

Patent term for patents in Austria is 20 years and for utility models and designs it is 15 years.

PCT National Stage in Austria

Austria is a member of the PCT and the Paris Convention. When an application is filed as a PCT National Stage application, the national stage entry deadline is 30 months from the PCT application’s priority date. Filing power of attorney at the national stage is required. German language translation extensions are not available. There are no fees for excess claims.

Recent IP Legal Trends in Austria

In February 1999, Austrian patent laws have been amended to allow internal priority of inventions. Due to this change, a patent applicant in Austria can now claim priority from applications filed in Austria during the period of one year prior to the filing. In addition, an EPO patent application that designates Austria can now be converted into an utility model application.

According to Austrian patent attorneys, in the recent couple of years patent litigation work has soared in Austria. The reason for this increase has been attributed to a number of US and Western European companies entering the Austrian market. However, Austrian patent lawyers state that the a portion of the business of patent validation has gone from Austrian to German firms, because German firms have charged lower prices for patent translation, thereby taking some of the work away from their more expensive Austrian counterparts.

Also, Austrian lawmakers have decided not to join the London Agreement, because they assessed that Austria would lose money otherwise accrued through translation of patents into German language.

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