In 1995 I filed an application for a european patent, through a friend of mine who is an accountant, but since then I have done nothing else and I have not heard anything more. How can I be sure that the patent has been granted?

It is very strange that the European Patent Office has sent no information after an application for a European patent in 1995. Once filed the application, this must be followed in its track, often the office sends notifications and above all, the annual fees maintaining the validity must be paid. Particularly, you must have received the search report where documents similar to the patent would be listed, and then the fee for the examination should have been paid. During a period of five years these and other operations have been necessary, therefore it is surprising that the holder or his representative has received no communication. The only possibility is that all correspondence could have been sent directly to the accountant and he has failed to inform you. Therefore, the first thing to do is to shed light on the situation with the person who followed the file. In the case where, during these five years, a fee has never been paid, I fear that the patent might have been cancelled. Payments of the examination fee and of the annuities are an obligation, failing this the patent loses its validity and there is no way to recover it. In case of failed payment, the Office allows a grace period of six month during which the fee can be settled with some penalty, but past the six months it is impossible to do anything further. Unfortunately your situation is not very clear and it seems there is very little hope, but, on a qualm, it is still possible to check directly with the European Patent Office, who will provide proper information on the status of the application.