EPO acts as research authority for national patent applications
The European Patent Office (EPO) has signed an agreements with 13 European countries to act as a research authority for national patent applications.
In particular and only in Italy the costs of research are covered by the Italian Government, therefore the EPO research is free. Prior art search and search report are sent to UIBM, the Italian Patent and Trademark Office, within 9 months from the filing date.
In Greece, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Monaco, Turkey and Luxembourg the payment of fees is required to carry out the search whereas for Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, San Marino the search is optional and has to be paid.