Moldova Set to Become the 40th Contracting State to the EPC
The European Patent Office (EPO) has invited the Republic of Moldova to accede to the European Patent Convention (EPC), such that Moldova will become the 40th contracting state to the EPC. Moldova will need to enact national law in order to become a member and it is not yet clear when this will happen.
Since 1 November 2015 it has been possible to validate European patents in Moldova in view of a bilateral validation agreement between the EPO and Moldova. Currently, any applicant filing a European patent application (or a PCT application designating Europe) is able to pursue protection in Moldova by paying a validation fee to the EPO within the same period as paying designation and extension fees. Similar bilateral agreements are also in place for Morocco, Georgia, Tunisia and Cambodia.
When Moldova becomes a member of the EPC, it will no longer be necessary to pay the validation fee in order to pursue protection in Moldova. Instead, Moldova will be automatically designated along with the other 39 members of the EPC. Thus, once Moldova accedes to the EPC, it will be possible to designate 40 countries in a single European patent application without the need to pay any extension or validation fees.
The EPO's announcement can be seen here.