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It has been announced that it will be possible, from 1 November 2015, to validate European patents in Moldova. This development marks the culmination of an agreement between the European Patent Office (EPO) and State Agency of Intellectual Property of the Republic of Moldova (AGEPI) first signed in June 2014.
Moldova will not be a member of the EPC, nor a so-called extension state. Instead, the validation agreement is a bilateral arrangement between the EPO and the AGEPI. A similar bilateral agreement between the EPO and Morocco came into force on 1 March 2015. An agreement with Tunisia was signed in July 2014, but has yet to be ratified, and so has not yet entered into force.
For users of the European patent system, the practical result of this announcement is that it will now be possible to cover up to 42 countries with a single European patent application. Anyone filing a European patent application (or a PCT application designating Europe) after 1 November 2015, will be able to request validation in Moldova, and a validation fee will need to be paid to the EPO within the same period as for paying designation and extension fees. The system is similar in effect to the current extension state system.
Moldovan validation will not be available for European patent applications filed before 1 November 2015, or any European patents resulting from such applications.
The EPO's announcement can be seen here.