Inventions deserve the best protection
A European patent attorney or Belgian patent attorney is your best choice for protecting your invention in Europe.
Protecting inventions in Europe is more than filing European patent applications within certain deadlines and hoping for the best.
It’s about preparing for emerging markets and changes to your industry. It is about knowing how competitors might affect your IP rights now and later. 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.
Belgian and European Patent Attorney services
- Drafting of patent applications
- Filing of European patent applications
- Filing of national patent applications in Belgium and other countries
- European patent prosecution
- European patent oppositions and appeals
- Providing legal opinions on whether a patent is valid and how to avoid infringing a patent
- European Patent validation
- Renewal fee payment in Belgium and other countries
- Patent searches
When do you need a European or Belgian patent attorney?
In some cases you are obliged by law to use a patent attorney. This is the case 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 agent or patent attorney?
The common word in Europe for a patent professional is a European or national patent attorney. In most countries in Europe there is only one type of patent attorney or patent agent. This is also the case at the EPO. However, in countries outside Europe the word European patent agent is sometimes used.
Drafting a patent application
As first step in getting protection for an invention we draft a professional 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. Patenthuis can also take care of any drawings that may be needed. We can make these from scratch or based on your own drawings. We usually draft a European patent application in English.
Fees for drafting Belgian or European patent applications are typically 3500 to 5500 €. This depends on the complexity of the patent application and the urgency.
Belgian Patent Law and the European Patent Convention do provide for provisional applications.
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.
European patent application
A European patent application is usually 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 2195€. This price includes the official fees for filing and for the novelty search.
Results of 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.
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 with the 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 prociess 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.
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). We charge an attorney fee of only 349€ for filing your patent application in Belgium. Please request our fee sheet by email for more information and additional fees.
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. 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 the potential infringement. Also, we can assess whether the patent is valid, so that you can make more informed decisions about possible next steps.
In practice, in Belgium it is rare that a court has to decide on patent validity.
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. But still, there is no such thing as a Benelux patent. Patent law is fully independent national law in the Benelux.