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Laos Becomes Sixth EPO Validation State

Client Updates / May 19, 2024

Written by: Caleb Gilliam-Scott

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) has signed a validation agreement with the European Patent office (EPO). The signing of the agreement follows an EPO delegation visiting the country in November 2023.

Laos becomes the second validation partner from Southeast Asia to sign a validation agreement with the EPO, alongside neighbour Cambodia, and the sixth overall after Morocco, Tunisia, Moldova, and Georgia. It has not yet been announced when the agreement will enter into force, but such agreements typically enter into force between 1 and 4 years of their signing, with the average being about 3 years.

As reported previously with the entry into force of a validation agreement with Georgia, the EPO continues to expand the complementary protection conferred by a European patent abroad, benefitting applicants with centralised search and examination procedures. With the imminent addition of Laos to the EPO validation states, a single European patent could have protection in up to 46 countries, all on the basis of the prosecution of a single European application under the European Patent Convention (EPC).