In the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains, on the border between France and Spain, lies a small independent country. This country, of course, is The Principality of Andorra. The co-princes exercising sovereignty over Andorra are the President of the French Republic and the (Spanish) Bishop of Urgel. Andorra is not part of the European Union.
Neither patents with effect in France, nor in Spain, have effect for Andorra. Even if an Andorran Patents Act has existed since 1999 and an updated form was published on 26 November 2014, the Andorran Government, who has been empowered to issue the Implementing Regulations to this Patent Act and the Regulation Establishing an Andorran Patent Office, has hitherto not approved or even drafted any of these regulations.
Therefore, Andorra is one of only two European countries known to this blogger (the other one being the Vatican City) in which it is actually not possible to file a patent application. That is until now, because in 2016 the Andorran Patents Act of November 2014 will enter into force.
Although the corresponding chapters of the Andorran Patents Act will not yet enter into force, it is even prepared for both an agreement with the European Patent Organization (EPO) for the purpose of validating European patents in Andorra as well as for ratification by Andorra of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
The reason that the Andorran Patents Act now enters into force is that things gained speed during the end of 2015. On 15 July 2015 the Government approved the Implementing Regulations, which were published in the Official Gazette of the Principality of Andorra on 22 July 2015.
However, a six month suspension of the practical application of the Implementing Regulation was decided. This to give time to provide the newly established Andorran Patent Office with technical and human resources needed to prosecute patent applications and to create a body of patent agents pursuant to the Implementing Regulations.
As this six month period is now nearing its end, this blogger wonders who will be lucky enough to apply for Andorran patent number 1.
Troels Peter Rørdam, European Patent Attorney & Certified Danish Patent Agent