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Coronavirus: consequences for patent granting in the Netherlands

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Published on: 25 March 2020 | Changed on: 03 April 2020

As a result of corona crisis measures, the services of the Netherlands Patent Office will be adjusted. The governmental guidelines concerning COVID-19 also have consequences for patent applicants and patent holders. Therefore we inform you.

Update 27 March 2020: patent office no longer physically accessible

From Friday 27 March, it will no longer be possible to hand over patent documents to the Netherlands Patent Office. This also means that documents can no longer be delivered or picked up by couriers. From that day, our employees are no longer physically present at the office in The Hague. We hereby respond to the urgent advice from the national government to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. We continue our services as much as possible but in an adapted form.

Accessibility Netherlands Patent Office

The Netherlands Patent Office remains accessible by email, mail or telephone. We have listed all the email addresses and telephone numbers in the table below:
 

SubjectEmail (preferred)Telephone

Annuities
Priority documents
Deeds
PCT applications
Supplementary protection certificates (SPCs)

teambeheer@rvo.nl088 042 66 56
European validationsteameuropese@rvo.nl088 042 65 55
NL-applicationsteamverlening@rvo.nl088 042 63 33
Public informationoctrooicentrum@rvo.nl088 042 66 60

 

Do you want to file patent documents? Please, use our online filing software or the eLoket. You can find out how to do this on mijn.rvo.nl. There you will also find an explanation of how to use the eLoket and how to log in. Letters that arrive at our office by mail are given a date stamp and are safely stored until we can work on location again.

Our office can no longer be visited

Our office in The Hague can no longer be visited. This also applies to couriers. The situation regarding the coronavirus changes daily. If there are new developments, we will take appropriate measures. We will, of course, inform you about this via our website and the Patent Register.

Time limits

The Netherlands Patents Office deals with time limits as smoothly as possible. We make maximum use of the space offered by the Netherlands Patents Act. For example, we extend the formal defects time limit to 2 months, if you do not pass the regular term of 3 months. For failing to meet the 'hard' legal time limits, you can, in most cases rely on the possibility of a request for restoration of rights (Article 23 Netherlands Patents Act). When considering the individual assessment of these requests, we take the special circumstances caused by COVID-19 into account.

European (EP) validation procedure

As of Friday, 27 March 2020, the Netherlands Patent Office stops sending letters in the EP-validation procedure. The letters will be published in the online dossier. The dossier is accessible via the Patent Register in the Benelux Patent Platform. We advise you to consult the Patent Register daily for new documents or updates in the patents. We will retroactively send the letters by mail at a time to be determined.

General Supplementary protection certificates (SPC)

SPC applications and follow-up mail can be submitted by email. You do not need to send the original documents as of 27 March 2020.

Priority Documents

You can submit priority documents electronically within the legal period of 16 months. You must still send the original documents to us.

Requests for restoration and appeals

We can no longer send letters and decisions about a request for restoration matters (following article 23, the third paragraph of the Netherlands Patents Act 1995) by (registered) mail. We are currently sending all letters and decisions as a PDF attachment by email.

Temporarily stopping services

The Netherlands Patents Office can temporarily no longer carry out the following processes:

  • Processing applications and follow-up mail submitted on paper (Dutch applications and follow-up mail, European translations, PCT applications and follow-up mail, and so on);
  • Sending a 'confirmation letter' and a 'formal defects' letter in the Dutch application procedure;
  • Lapsing NL applications (for example, lapse due to not removing the formal defects within the prescribed time limit and the failure to submit a request for search within the time limit of 13 months);
  • Sending research reports with written opinions;
  • Registering Dutch patent applications in the Patent Register and granting Dutch patents;
  • The publication of registered Dutch patent applications and patents (the so-called A and B publications) and the sending of patent certificates;
  • The registration of deeds and documents in the Patent Register. Only address changes, mergers and changes of names for which copies of the extracts from the Chamber of Commerce are sufficient may be submitted by email or Online Filing;
  • The provision of paper priority documents, except for DAS requests. We can process these requests;
  • Sending correspondence in the PCT procedure.

Questions

For further inquiries, please contact Mrs Karin Streng (Netherlands Patent Office) by sending an email
 

Update 25 March 25 2020

Currently, the Netherlands Patent Office is almost fully operational. Filings can continue. In case you have difficulties meeting time limits, for example, we will deal with this as smoothly as possible. However, at this time, we are obliged to maintain existing legal terms and rules. Should this lead to problems or a lapse of rights, you can use existing procedures under the Netherlands Patents Act aimed at restoring to the previous situation, or (thereafter) the procedures under the General Administrative Law Act.

Cancelled for now

Hearings and other forms of physical consultation have been cancelled for now. The situation regarding the coronavirus changes daily. It goes without saying that we will take appropriate measures if necessary. We will keep you informed through our website and the Dutch Patent Register.