The European patent system allows applicants to seek protection by submitting a direct European patent application designating the European member states party to the European Patent Convention in which protection is sought. Thus, protection can be obtained in up to 38 countries in Europe (member countries in May 2011).

European patent applications can be submitted to the SPTO, but they are processed by the European Patent Office. A European patent has the same effect as a national patent in each of the member states for which protection is granted.

This application can be submitted in Spanish, in which case it is eligible for a 20% discount on the filing fee (for any of the online or paper-based categories) and an additional 20% discount on the examination fee (Rule 6.3 of the European Patent Convention). This application must be translated into one of the official languages within three months.

If it is a EuroPCT application, that is, an international patent application that has entered a regional phase in Europe and for which the international search report has been issued by the SPTO, the Supplementary European Search Report fee will be reduced by 940 euros, equivalent to a discount of more than 50% of the fee (published in the PCT Applicant's Guide – National Phase – National Chapter – EP http://www.wipo.int/pct/guide/en/gdvol2/annexes/ep.pdf)

Furthermore, on 28 July 2010 the European Patent Office published a notification of changes to the European Patent Convention (Rules 141 and 70 of the EPC) stating that work carried out by certain national offices, including the SPTO, on a patent application can be subsequently used by the EPO in the processing of European patents, giving priority to this national application.