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Translation Requirements for Validation of European Patents

A patent that has been granted by the European Patent Office may subsequently be made effective in any of the countries for which a designation, extension or validation fee has been paid. This process is commonly known as “validation” of the European patent.

For European patents with a grant date on or after 1 June 2023, it will in most cases1 be possible to validate a European patent via one of two routes:

  • Direct national validation in any of the countries of interest (i.e. up to 43 separate countries in total); or
  • Validation as a “Unitary Patent” (a single patent right covering 17 of the 27 EU countries2), in addition to direct national validation in any of the remaining non-EU countries and non-participating EU countries of interest.

More information about the Unitary Patent system can be found in the dedicated section of our website.

Direct national validation

For direct national validation of a European patent, some countries impose translation requirements as part of the validation procedure. In general, any required translations must be submitted within three months of the grant date of the patent. The translation requirements vary significantly between the different countries. The majority of European patents are in English, and for such patents, the following requirements apply:

  1. Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United Kingdom have no post-grant translation requirements.
  2. Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Sweden and Slovenia require a translation of the claims of the patent (but not the entire specification) in the appointed language to be filed.
  3. Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey require a translation of the entire specification in the appointed language to be filed. This includes a translation of the sequence listing, if one is present.

The attached annex sets out the requirements for each country, including the appointed language where relevant. As is evident from the annex, in some countries it is possible to re-use a translation prepared for another country with the same appointed language. For example, a Greek translation can be used in both Greece and Cyprus, an Italian translation can be used in both Italy and San Marino, a Croatian translation can be used in both Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, a Serbian translation can be used in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina, and a Romanian translation can be used in both Romania and Moldova.

In some countries, the translation that is filed is regarded as the authentic text for determining infringement by a third party, in the event that the text of the translation of the patent that is filed is narrower in scope than the text of the patent in the language of proceedings before the EPO. It is therefore important to use high-quality translations when filing national validation requests.

Unitary patent

One requirement of validation as a Unitary Patent is that a translation of the full text of the patent into one other language must be submitted within one month of the grant date. For the majority of European patents that are in English, the translation may be into any other official EU language. However, if the language of the European patent is French or German, the translation must be into English.

The requirement for the translation to be in “any” EU language, i.e. not necessarily the official language of an EU country that is actually participating in the Unitary Patent system, can be strategically useful to applicants. In particular, an applicant may use a single translation both for (a) validation as a Unitary Patent and (b) national validation in a country that is not participating in the Unitary Patent system but which requires translation of the full text of the patent into a language that is also an EU language. For example, an applicant may use a single Spanish translation of the patent both for validation as a Unitary Patent and for direct national validation in Spain, or a single Polish translation of the patent both for validation as a Unitary Patent and for direct national validation in Poland.

The translation filed to obtain a Unitary Patent will be for information purposes only (i.e. it will not have a legally binding effect), but should not be a machine translation.

Cost-effective European patent validations

J A Kemp provides a top-quality translation service and integrates it seamlessly with the validation provision. We can provide a quote for completing the validation in each country which includes the cost of translation together with the cost of performing the validation acts and official fees, so there are no unknown disbursement charges for clients to pay. For more information about J A Kemp’s validation service, please see this section of our website, or contact your usual J A Kemp advisor.

Annex – translation requirements for direct national validation of European patents in English

Country code Country Translation requirement
AL Albania Claims only into Albanian
AT Austria Full text into German
BA Bosnia & Herzegovina Claims only into Bosnian, Croatian or Serbian
BE Belgium No translation needed
BG Bulgaria Full text into Bulgarian
CH/LI Switzerland/Liechtenstein No translation needed
CY Cyprus Full text into Greek
CZ Czech Republic Full text into Czech
DE Germany No translation needed
DK Denmark Claims only into Danish
EE Estonia Full text into Estonian
ES Spain Full text into Spanish
FI Finland Claims only into Finnish
FR France No translation needed
GB United Kingdom No translation needed
GR Greece Full text into Greek
HR Croatia Claims only into Croatian
HU Hungary Claims only into Hungarian
IE Ireland No translation needed
IS Iceland Claims only into Icelandic
IT Italy Full text into Italian
KH Cambodia Claims only into Khmer
LT Lithuania Claims only into Lithuanian
LU Luxembourg No translation needed
LV Latvia Claims only into Latvian
MA Morocco No translation needed3
MC Monaco No translation needed
MD Moldova Full text into Romanian
ME Montenegro Claims only into Montenegrin4
MK North Macedonia Claims only into Macedonian
MT Malta No translation needed
NL Netherlands Claims only into Dutch
NO Norway Claims only into Norwegian
PL Poland Full text into Polish
PT Portugal Full text into Portuguese
RO Romania Full text into Romanian
RS Serbia Full text into Serbian
SE Sweden Claims only into Swedish
SI Slovenia Claims only into Slovene
SK Slovakia Full text into Slovak
SM San Marino Full text into Italian
TN Tunisia No translation needed
TR Turkey Full text into Turkish


  1. Certain restrictions apply to validation as a Unitary Patent. In particular, in order to be eligible for a Unitary Patent, the patent must have a filing date of 1 March 2007 or later (this being the date when the last participating country, Malta, joined the EPC), the patent must designate all of the countries which have indicated that they will take part in the Unitary Patent system, and the patent must have the same claims for all such countries.
  2. The 17 countries that currently participate in the Unitary Patent system are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden.
  3. For validation in Morocco, it is necessary to file a translation of the claims only into French or Arabic. However, a French translation of the claims will already have been prepared in order to file a response to the communication under Rule 71(3) EPC at the EPO. Thus, in practice, there are no further post-grant translation requirements in Morocco.
  4. Although Montenegrin and Serbian are officially different languages, there has not yet been any significant divergence since Montenegro gained independence from Serbia. A Serbian translation of the claims can therefore be used in Montenegro (as well as in Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina).