Patents

Be aware: absolute novelty is a main patentability requirement in Europe. In order to be valid, a patent application must be filed prior to any disclosure of the invention!

 

 

 

Patent application outlined

 

 

A standard patent prosecution procedure from the initial filing to the grant of a Belgian, Dutch, European patent is outlined in the attached tables as well as the standard procedure for the filing and the examination of a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent application.

 

After inserting a date of the filing of the application, an overview of the procedure is provided with the indication of the official fees.

Please click on the links hereunder to accede to the respective procedures.

 

Belgian Patent

 

Dutch Patent

 

European patent

 

PCT application

 

In order to be valid in Belgium a translation of the European patent (description and claims) is required in one of the three official languages (Dutch, French or German). 

In order to be valid in the Netherlands a Dutch translation of the granted claims of the European patent is required.

 

Hereunder some explanations are given as to

  • The costs
  • What is a patent?
  • What is the grant procedure?
  • Rights/Benefits
  • Obligations
  • How to register?
  • Where to register?

 

 

 

What are the costs?

 

 

The required investment for drafting a patent application and the prosecution up to grant varies widely by the required time, the complexity of the invention and the prior art. An average estimated cost for a Belgian or Dutch patent is between €6,000 and €9,000. Our administrative and office fees are listed in our schedule of fee which will be forwarded upon request.  

 

 

 

What is a patent?

 

 

A patent protects an invention of a technical product or process. This should not be confused with know-how and trade secrets.

The holder of a patent can prohibit others from imitating, selling or importing that invention. The patent is valid for one or more countries and for a maximum period of 20 years from the date on which the patent application was filed. A patent is also referred to as an exclusive right to an invention through which one can prohibit anyone else from applying the invention commercially.

In order to qualify for patent protection, the subject must be a technical invention which satisfies the following three criteria:

  • Novelty: Before the date when the patent application is filed, the product or process must not have been disclosed anywhere in the world, not even through the action of the inventor himself (e.g. through a company brochure or a presentation at a trade fair). Until the application is filed, the invention must therefore be treated as strictly confidential.
  • Inventiveness: The invention must not be obvious to an average professional.
  • Industrial applicability: The invention must concern a product or production process which can be technically demonstrated to work.



Moreover, discoveries, scientific theories, plant species and computer programs are in principle excluded from protection under patent law.



Brantsandpatents can assist you from the very start of your research. Even in the brainstorming phase of your new development, we can advise you about the patent positions of third parties. We provide guidance for the research to be conducted and the further development. On the basis of our expertise, we can help you in securing strong patent protection so as to be certain that you can file your patent application and later implement your invention.

 

 

 

What is the grant procedure?

 

 

The whole route from filing a patent application to being granted a patent preferably starts with a preliminary study of what we already know about the subject (state-of-the-art). Obviously, Brantsandpatents can conduct this preliminary investigation on your behalf but the inventor can already do part of this task himself, e.g. through the freely accessible databanks of Espacenet, Google Patents or WIPO. We will deliver an informed opinion after studying the literature.

 

If this is a favourable opinion, in other words if we consider that your invention is new and constitutes an inventive step, your patent application can be filed. This initial filing, known as priority filing, is usually made in one country (e.g. Belgium or the Netherlands) or in one regional system (e.g. European patent application).

 

After the patent application has been filed, an investigation is conducted leading to an official novelty report. After receiving this report, the application may if necessary be amended. 18 months after filing, the application will be published. 18 months is also the usual period for the granting of a Belgian or Dutch patent. In both countries, the preliminary investigation is purely informative.

 

European patents are granted only after further thorough examination. Up to 12 months after the initial filing, also called priority filing, corresponding applications may be filed in other countries or regional systems. It is also possible to defer the choice of country until 30 months after initial filing. This is possible via the PCT procedure through which a so-called worldwide patent application is filed.

 


It goes without saying that following an individual route for each invention optimises protection. You are therefore recommended to ask Brantsandpatents' consultants for advice at an early stage.

 

 

 

Rights/Benefits

 

 

As holder of a patent

  • you have, from the date of granting up to 20 years after filing, an exclusive right to the invention and you may take legal action against imitation;
  • you also hold a property right which forms part of the intangible fixed assets of your company, on the basis of which you can appraise a patent, license it, sell it, etc.

 


Please note that in most cases the public authorities do not intervene in disputes concerning infringement. This means that the patent owner - in cooperation with his consultant - must assert his patent rights via the appropriate procedures.

 

 

 

Obligations

 

 

In order to maintain your patent rights, you have to follow a granting procedure from filing your application until the granting of the patent. You will also have to pay annual fees to maintain your patent.

 

Brantsandpatents keeps track of all deadlines and notifies you in time when particular steps have to be taken.

 

 

 

How?

 

 

Patent applications are filed with a specific public authority. When filing your application, you must submit an accurate and detailed description of the invention.

 

Brantsandpatents ensures that your patent is filed and followed up correctly, giving due and proper attention to the formalities to be fulfilled and the deadlines to be met.

 

 

 

Where?

 

 

There is no worldwide registration system for patents and in general one has to register country by country. However, there are significant exceptions to this rule:

 

  • European patent: for the contracting states to the European Patent Convention, a joint granting procedure may be followed, although the resulting set of patents will subsequently be split up into national patents.
  • PCT procedure or worldwide patent application: this procedure makes it possible to postpone the choice of countries until 30 months after the initial filing.

 

In deciding where and via which system you will register your patent, you need to consider various factors such as the level of the investment and the legal and practical pros and cons of each system.

 

Brantsandpatents has the necessary knowledge and experience of patent systems worldwide to help you take the right decisions.

 

For foreign national or regional procedures, Brantsandpatents benefits from a network of correspondents who have been carefully selected on the basis of quality, efficiency and cost.