Within three months from grant a European patent needs to be validated in the countries in which the applicant wishes to obtain protection. Protection can be irrecoverably lost if this is not done on time.
The requirements for this validation are determined by the individual countries, so they vary significantly. The requirements differ country by country, depending on the national laws of the countries concerned, and also depending on the language of the granted European patent. The most common requirements are filing a translation (either of the whole patent or only the claims), payment of a fee, and appointment of a national representative.
Validation of a European Patent in Belgium
In some European countries, including Belgium, no formal acts are required for validation. Nevertheless, it is recommended to appoint a patent attorney as ‘address for service’. We can offer this service for Belgium for 199€.
Due to the fact that no formal requirements are strictly needed, the first critical date for the Belgian part of a European Patent application is usually the first renewal fee date, not the three month period mentioned above. If this renewal fee payment date is missed, this can be restored for a period of six months for a small surcharge.
This means in effect that, even if in the first instance no validations acts were performed in Belgium for a granted European patent, this can be corrected until at least 6 months after the grant date, and possibly much longer, depending on the normal date for renewal fee payments. In exceptional cases this can even be done until 18 months after the grant date. Please contact us for further information.
Validation of a European Patent in other countries
Patenthuis can handle the administrative requirements for you in all EPC countries.
We can appoint ourselves as ‘address for service’ in Germany, France, The UK, Ireland and Luxembourg.
In other countries we can handle the validation formalities at very attractive rates, via a trusted network of agents. In particular for The Netherlands we can offer highly competitive rates.
Renewal Fees payments
Renewal fees, also known as annuities, need to be paid annually in Europe, both before the patent is granted and after. If a renewal fee is not paid on time, the patent or patent application may be lost irrevocably.
Renewal fees for a European patent application need to be paid to EPO. For national patents, as well as after grant of a European patent, renewal fees need to be paid nationally
At Patenthuis, we can monitor and arrange the payment of renewal fees for your patents in order to keep them active.
Urgent payments of Renewal Fees
We are happy to offer, depending on the circumstances, last minute urgent payments in at the EPO and in Belgium, and in selected other European countries, close to the deadline. Contact us for details.
A note on the ‘Unitary Patent’
For several years, there have been legal developments in Europe towards a Unitary Patent. This means that a single patent would then be valid for most countries of the European Union, whereby significant savings can be made on translations.
National patent validation will also remain an option for all countries. They will actually remain the only option for European Patent Convention signatory states who are not members of the EU.
In 2018 a quick ratification appeared likely, but due to several factors it is now, in 2020, unclear if and when this legislation will be ratified.