Contributed By Linklaters
The grant procedure for a Belgian patent lasts approximately 18-20 months. The applicant can file a Belgian patent application and is not obliged to appoint a qualified patent attorney for the filing thereof, unless the applicant does not have its residence or place of business in an EU Member State. At the time of writing, OPRI office fees for the filing a Belgian patent application are EUR350-400 (made up of a filing fee of EUR50, a search report fee of EUR300 and a possible fee for invoking priority of EUR50). Maintenance fees are due as of the beginning of the third year after the patent application date and increase over the duration of the patent, starting from EUR40 and going up to EUR600. The above-mentioned fees do not include any representation or translation costs.
The grant procedure for a European patent typically takes between three and five years. The applicant can file a European patent application and is not obliged to appoint a qualified patent attorney for the filing thereof, unless the applicant does not have its residence or place of business in an EPC contracting state. At the time of writing, the office fees relating to the filing of a European patent application amount, on average, to EUR5,710 for a paper filing or EUR5,620 for an online filing if the patent application is pursued until it matures into registration (a filing fee of EUR120 if online and EUR210 if on paper, a search fee of EUR1,300, a designation fee of EUR585, a claims fee if more than 15 claims are filed, an examination fee of EUR1,635, a grant fee of EUR925, etc). Renewal fees for a European patent application are payable to the EPO as from the third year after the date of filing the application and each subsequent year until the grant of the European patent, and increase every year (from EUR470-1,575). In some designated countries, fees may also be charged for the validation of a patent. Maintenance fees will be payable in the designated contracting states once the patent has been granted (the amounts of which vary per country). The above-mentioned fees do not include any representation costs. The unitary patent, if introduced, is expected to result in a significant decrease in costs.
As discussed in 1.2 Grant Procedure, the international phase of a PCT patent application usually lasts for approximately 30 months. Since the national phase of a PCT patent application involves the verification of national (or regional) requirements, the time required for the grant of the patent varies across the relevant patent offices (reference is made to what is set out above in relation to the time required for the grant of a Belgian or European patent). Representation by a qualified patent attorney is again not required for the filing of a PCT application, although it is highly recommended. At the time of this report, an international filing fee of CHF1,330 is due, with a search fee determined by the chosen ISA (which may range from CHF134 to CHF2,046) and a small transmittal fee, as well as a fee per sheet over 30, the amounts of which depend on the referring patent office. It should be noted that the (filing and other) fees due to the national (and regional) patent offices during the national phase represent – in most cases – the greater part of the office fees in relation to a PCT application. Fee reductions are available in the case of e-filing and for certain categories of applicants (during both the international and the national phase). Maintenance fees will be due in each designated country (or region). The above-mentioned fees do not include any representation or translation costs.