Belgian and European Patent Attorney services
A European patent attorney or Belgian patent attorney is your best choice for protecting your invention in Europe or Belgium.
Protecting inventions in Europe is more than filing European patent applications within certain deadlines and hoping for the best. It’s about having a trusted advisor looking out for your IP investment for the long term. From looking at a patent’s validity, to drafting a claim, to legal advice to avoid future infringement.
The patent attorney of Patenthuis has successfully handled hundreds of European and Belgian patent applications over the last twelve years. Therefore, he is fully qualified to represent clients at the European Patent office and the Belgian Patent office.
- Filing of European patent applications
- European patent prosecution
- European patent oppositions and appeals
- Filing of national patent applications in Belgium and other countries
- European Patent validation
- Drafting of patent applications
- Renewal fee payment in Belgium and other countries
- Patent searches
- Providing legal opinions on whether a Belgian or European patent is valid in Belgium and how to avoid infringing a patent
- PCT European phase
European patent agent or patent attorney?
In most countries in Europe there is only one type of patent professional. The common word in Europe for such a patent professional is a European or national patent attorney. This is also the case at the EPO. The term European patent agent is not widely used in Europe.
However, in countries outside Europe people sometimes use the term European patent agent. This is fine as well. In Europe, a patent agent is the same as a patent attorney.
When do you need a European or Belgian patent attorney?
If an applicant lives in, or has an address in, the EPC contracting states, the applicant is allowed to represent himself. However, due to the complexities of patent a law, it is highly recommended to use a patent agent.
In some cases you are obliged by law to use a patent attorney. In particular if you are based outside Europe and you want a patent application filed at EPO. The same is valid for Belgium: If you are not based in the EU, you need a Belgian patent attorney for filing a patent application in Belgium.
European Patent Attorney services
Filing a patent application in Europe
The filing date is important. This determines when the invention may be made public without risk to your prospects of a grant. Until that date, any publication made by the inventor or applicant is counted as prior art. These will damage the chances of a grant of your patent application.
As a first step in getting protection for an invention we draft a European or Belgian patent application. This needs to have claims that define the scope of protection that you request. Poorly drafted claims put the patent at risk or reduce the value.
At Patenthuis, a trained Belgian and European patent attorney drafts all patent applications. Also, Patenthuis can take care of any drawings that may be needed. We can make these from scratch or based on your own drawings. Usually, we draft a European patent application in English.
Belgian Patent Law and the European Patent Convention do not provide for provisional applications.
A European patent application is filed at EPO – the European Patent Office.
When filing a European patent application, we must request an official novelty search. The EPO performs this novelty search.
Patenthuis’ fees for filing a European patent application are circa 2350€. This price includes the official fees for filing and for the novelty search.
We usually receive the results of the novelty search from the EPO within 6 to 11 months. As quickly as possible, we report these results to you along with a brief analysis. You may then ask for further study of the novelty search for an extra fee. This includes an analysis of the search report and advice regarding the chances of a grant of your European patent application.
European patent applications – Prosecution
Patenthuis handles the entire grant procedure for you. We keep you informed of any progress and will always consult you when you need to take a decision. The substantive part of the procedure normally involves one to three replies to remarks from the examiner. Usually this takes between one and three years. Of course we monitor the other procedural aspects closely as well. This concerns deadlines, renewal fees, etc.
Our services include:
- We keep you informed throughout the entire patent procedure
- Replying to objections from the examiner (this often takes place over the course of several years)
- We ensure payment of fees and keep an eye on meeting all deadlines
EPO will only grant a European patent if the examiner agrees that all legal conditions for grant are met. This includes the novelty of the claims and the presence of an inventive step.
The course of the procedure differs between patent applications, as do the total costs. Normally the procedure after the novelty search takes 18 to 60 months and costs 8000 to 12000€.
A critical date is one year after the first filing. This is the priority year, set up in international law since the 19th century.
If you wish to get a patent in other countries than the country of first filing, you need to file patent applications in these other countries within this year.
Patenthuis will be happy to file a European patent application or a Belgian patent application for you. This can be based on a first filing from another country.
Belgian Patent Attorney services
Interesting elements of patent law in Belgium
The Belgian Patent Office does not examine patent applications in depth.
When a patent application is filed, the Belgian Patent Office only performs a novelty search. In practice, they outsource this to the European Patent Office, so that the applicant gets a high quality EPO search report. The results of this novelty search are published together with the Belgian patent application.
It is not possible to correspond with the Belgian patent office in relation to the results of the novelty search.
No matter what the results are of the novelty search, you will obtain a Belgian patent. This normally happens between 18 and 24 months after the priority date. However, this easy process does not mean that one can file low quality patent applications. Ultimately, all requirements are similar to those for European Patents.
As authorized patent attorney in Belgium we take care of everything for you.
Patent validity and infringement
As indicated above, there is no substantive patent examination in the normal patent grant procedure in Belgium. The requirements are only examined in court by a judge if and when invalidity proceeding are started. A patent attorney in Belgium can not formally represent a client in court. Nevertheless, he will usually work together with a lawyer to assist the client in court.
The validity of a Belgian patent is therefore uncertain. For this reason it is important to consult a patent attorney when somebody infringes your Belgian patent. At Patenthuis we can evaluate a potential infringement. Also, we can assess whether the patent is valid, so that you can make informed decisions about possible next steps.
In practice, in Belgium it is rare that a court has to decide on patent validity.
Costs of obtaining a Belgian patent – All inclusive offer!
We pride ourselves on our competitive prices. The official fees for filing a Belgian patent application are 350€ (filing fee and search fee). Additionally, we only charge an attorney fee of 599€ for filing your patent application in Belgium. This includes reporting the results of the novelty search and reporting the grant. So, there are no hidden fees: 350€ official fees and 599€ covers the entire application procedure until grant.
However, note that this does NOT include drafting or translating the patent application.
Please request our fee sheet by email for more information.
Benelux patents don’t exist
Sometimes people ask us about Benelux patents. The Benelux countries are Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg. They have a deeper and older legal and political integration than the rest of the EU. However, there is no such thing as a Benelux patent. Patent law is fully independent national law in the Benelux.