Patent Application Abroad

Published on:
19 March 2021
Last checked on:
16 June 2022

You can apply for a patent for several countries at once. 

Patent application in Europe

You can apply for a patent for several countries at once. Such a group of countries is called a region. You can apply for a European patent for the region of Europe. The European patent is applied for and granted centrally via the European Patent Office (EPO).

After your patent has been examined and granted, you can validate it in the European countries in which you want to obtain a patent. You then have a collection of patents.

As of 1 June 2023, the unitary patent is a new choice following the granting of your European patent. The new unitary patent is a single patent for 17 European member states.

Granting procedure

The European procedure begins at the European Patent Office. Your application is filed in English, German or French, the 3 official languages of the European Patent Office. Once the application has been filed, an international novelty search is carried out. This search checks the application against the requirements of novelty, the inventive step and industrial application.

The application and the search report are published 18 months following the date on which the application was filed. If the patent is granted, it is registered in the patent register of each country for which the patent has been applied for. You must submit translations in the national language of each of these countries for this purpose.

European patents in the Netherlands

The Patent Act 1995 and the accompanying Implementation Decree impose obligations upon the owners of European patents. In the Patent Act 1995, a European patent is deemed to be a patent granted pursuant to the European Patents Convention by the European Patents Office, which is valid in the Netherlands.

A European patent has the same legal consequences in the Netherlands and is governed by the same law as a patent granted pursuant to the Patent Act 1995 by the Netherlands Patent Office, a department of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. The grant date of the European patent is the date on which the grant is published in the 'European Patent Bulletin' of the European Patent Office. However, before a patent can be granted, the application procedure for a European patent will involve:

Patent application worldwide

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (or PCT) was concluded in 1970 in Washington. This treaty allows a patent to be applied for all over the world by means of a single application procedure. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is responsible for implementing this treaty.

In contrast to the procedure for granting European patents, the PCT procedure does not directly result in a granted patent. A worldwide patent does therefore not exist. It would be impossible to pay for a patent to be granted in all countries that are affiliated with the Patent Cooperation Treaty and it would not be worthwhile either.

The major advantage of the PCT procedure is that you have 30 months to decide in which countries you actually wish to have patent protection. Once these 30 months have elapsed, there are procedures in a number of regions that will allow you to defer payment of costs associated with granting a patent and translation. Patent attorneys are able to offer advice on this matter.

Granting procedure

The PCT procedure begins by filing a PCT application and paying a number of set fees (including fees associated with filing and carrying out a search). You may file your application with our office, the European Patent Office or the WIPO. An International Search Authority (ISA), such as the European Patent Office, will subsequently carry out an international novelty search.

The WIPO publishes the application as soon as possible once 18 months have elapsed since the initial filing date. At your request, a provisional examination can be made, and this may often be the case as a result of documents that you can re-submit with improvements.

The results of the novelty search and any assessment are subsequently sent to the national patent-granting authority or the European Patent Office. These authorities are able to complete the process and subsequently grant a patent. At the end of the PCT procedure (i.e. prior to the end of the 30th month, counting from the priority date), you will proceed to the regional or national phase. You will then decide in which countries you wish to establish patent rights.

Applying for a patent through the PCT procedure involves:

Questions about patents?

If you need more information on how to apply for a patent in the Netherlands, please contact the public information office.

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