An invention must be new at the moment the patent is applied for. When you apply for a 20-year patent, you are obliged to request a novelty search. The search report will contain several codes which indicate the categories of the literature found.
In order to clarify the codes in the search report, we provide an extra service since 2006: the written opinion.
What is a written opinion?
Like other international and European legislation, Dutch patent law makes a written opinion obligatory, thus offering more explanation to the customers. The new scheme will apply to all applications filed after 1 July 2006.
This means that in addition to the code with the quoted documents, an explanation will be provided as to why a particular document could be damaging to the novelty of the product for which a patent is being applied for. As well as the novelty, the inventive step and industrial applicability are requirements for a patent that will be assessed.
The written opinion has become a permanent and compulsory part of the search report for national patent applications and will be published together with the search report.
What does the written opinion contain?
During the novelty search, documents are sought that will show whether the invention is new or comprises an inventive step. The search report shows by means of codes whether there are any documents that threaten the patent application. These codes are difficult for a layman to understand. The written opinion explains why the documents mentioned could be damaging to the invention in terms of novelty and inventive step.
This better explanation of the search report is valuable for both the applicant and third parties, to obtain a good understanding of the novelty and inventive step involved in the application and – at a later stage – the patent.
Costs and benefits
The written opinion of the search report can help the applicant and third parties in taking decisions, such as whether or not to continue the procedure, modify the patent text, file the application in other countries, conclude licence agreements or start up nullification proceedings.
The written opinion is an extra service to the novelty search and free of charge. The costs for a national novelty search are € 100; the costs for international novelty search amount to € 794.
If you need more information on how to apply for a patent in the Netherlands, please contact the public information office.