Patent protection in the Netherlands is regulated by law in the Dutch Patent Act 1995, which came into force 1 April 1995. Until that time the Patent Act 1910 was in force.
By means of the Patent Act 1995, it became possible to apply for patents more cheaply and more rapidly. Applicants were given the choice between a 6- and a 20 year-patent. For the 6-year patent, a search into the state of the art (novelty search) was not obliged. However, the applicant was able to request a novelty search for 20-year patents. The deadline for the grant procedure was reduced to 18 months, and from then on, the patent was published after the same deadline.
Amendment to the Patents Act 1995
The Dutch Patent Act 1995 and Implementation Decree 1995 have undergone a review in June 2008. The 6-year patent ceased to exist with effect from 5 June 2008. The Patent Act 1995 was being amended in a number of sections. For all patents a novelty search is carried out. Together with the result of this search, the novelty search report, a so-called written opinion is published. This provides the applicant and others insight into the strength of the patent.
Other important amendments are described below.
Apply in English
The amended Patent Act made it possible to file a patent application in English. If you continue your patent application in an international, English-language patent procedure within 1 year, you will save significantly on translation costs. The claims of the patent application must however still be filed in Dutch. The Dutch claims are intended to make it easier for people to understand the content of the patents.
- Online filing / changes to filing fees
The cost for filing a patent application online, rather than on paper, will be € 80. This discount is intended to encourage electronic filing. The fee for filing a patent application on paper is currently € 120.
- Search fees
The fee in respect of a search into the state of the art that is restricted to the Netherlands is € 100. The fee for an international search is € 794.
- Charge-free period
The charge-free period is now 3 years. If a patent is granted within the charge-free period, a maintenance fee only has to be paid once this period has elapsed.
- Maintenance fees
For the amounts of the maintenance fees, a new calculation basis has been introduced. As a result, the Netherlands now has the same fee system as Germany, France and the United Kingdom. In the new system, the amount of the maintenance fee is based on the number of years that have passed since the patent application was filed. The maintenance fees are lower in the first few years. With effect from the 10th year, the fees become higher to prevent patent holders from maintaining their patent unnecessarily.