A European patent will only be granted if the examiner, after careful examination of the patent application, is satisfied that all legal requirements have been met. These legal requirements include the concept of novelty and the presence of an inventive step.
Prosecution of a European patent application
Patenthuis handles the entire grant procedure for you, while consulting you throughout the process. The substantive part of the procedure typically involves four replies to objections from the examiner, spread over a period of several years. The various additional procedural requirements, such as deadlines and fees to be paid, are closely monitored by Patenthuis, as well.
Our services include:
- Consultation throughout the entire patent procedure
- Replying to objections from the examiner (this often takes place over the course of several years)
- Ensuring payment of fees and that all deadlines are met and monitored.
The course of the procedure differs between patent applications, as do the total costs. Typically, the procedure after the novelty search takes 18 to 60 months and costs 8000 to 15000 €.
A European Patent needs to be validated in the desired EPC member countries within three months of being granted. Protection can be irrecoverably lost if this is not done on time.
The requirements differ country by country, depending on the national laws of the countries concerned, and also depending on the language of the granted European patent. The most common requirements are filing a translation (either of the whole patent or only the claims), payment of a fee, and appointment of a national representative. Patenthuis can handle these administrative requirements for you.
A note on the ‘Unitary Patent’
For several years, there have been legal developments in Europe towards a Unitary Patent. This means that a single patent would then be valid for most countries of the European Union, whereby significant savings can be made on translations.
National patent validation will also remain an option for all countries. They will actually remain the only option for European Patent Convention signatory states who are not members of the EU.
It is likely that legislation relating to Unitary Patents will be ratified in 2017 so that Unitary Patents can be taken in late 2017/early 2018.