This postcard shows the European Patent Office in Munich and it was sent by a friend of my parents who had moved to Germany many many years ago.
The European Patent Office (EPO) is one of the two organs of the European Patent Organisation (EPOrg), the other being the Administrative Council. The EPO acts as executive body for the Organisation while the Administrative Council acts as its supervisory body as well as, to a limited extent, its legislative body.
Within the European Patent Office, examiners are in charge of studying European patent applications, filed by applicants, in order to decide whether to grant a patent for an invention. The patents granted by the European Patent Office are called European patents.
The European Patent Office (EPO) grants European patents for the Contracting States to the European Patent Convention. The EPO provides a single patent grant procedure, but not a single patent from the point of view of enforcement. Hence the patents granted are not European Union patents or even Europe-wide patents, but a bundle of national patents. Besides granting European patents, the EPO is also in charge of establishing search reports for national patent applications on behalf of the patent offices of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, and Turkey.
The EPO headquarters are located at Munich, Germany. The European Patent Office also includes a branch in Rijswijk (a suburb of The Hague, Netherlands), sub-offices in Berlin, Germany, and Vienna, Austria and a "liaison bureau" in Brussels, Belgium. At the end of 2009, the European Patent Office had a staff of 6818 (with 3718 based in Munich, 2710 in Rijswijk, 274 in Berlin, 112 in Vienna and 4 in Brussels). The predecessor of the European Patent Office was the Institut International des Brevets or IIB. [wikipedia]