In future patents will be significantly less expensive in Europe given that costs for translations are going to fall. France deposited in Berlin the ratification certificate for the so-called London Protocol. According to this agreement dating from the year 2000 signatory countries agree that patents granted by the European Patent Office in Munich need not be translated in their respective languages. Thus, it is expected that about 30% of patent costs can be saved. The protocol will take effect on May 1st 2008.
Those countries the languages of which are official languages of the Munich-based European Patent Office (German, English, French) commit themselves in the London Protocol to do without any translation of patents. Those countries to which this does not apply are in future only entitled to receiving a translation in their language of a certain part of a patent, i.e. the so-called patent rights. The patent itself has to exist in German, English or French only.
Only if there were legal proceedings in the case of patent violations, the signatory countries of the London Protocol may demand a complete translation of the patent in question in their respective official languages. However, the number of such cases is very low in proportion to the overall number of patents granted.