The EPO was established in 1977. It is an international public organization with administrative and financial autonomy headquartered in Munich, Germany, with a satellite office in Berlin.
The EPO grants European patents for the member States to the European Patent Convention. English, French and German are the official languages of the European Patent Office. Patent applications may be filed in any language, provided that within two months a translation into one of the official languages is submitted.
When the patent is granted, the applicant selects the European Union countries in which he/she wishes to get protection over his/her invention, and validates the patent in those countries.
The EPO collaborates with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Japan Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China.