Contributed By Linklaters
There is no possibility of submitting third-party observations during the grant procedure for a Belgian patent, but a third party may file revocation/cancellation proceedings against the Belgian patent in court (see 4.1 Reasons and Remedies for Revocation/Cancellation).
Following the publication of a European patent application, any person may submit third-party observations free of charge to the EPO in English, French or German, setting out the grounds on which it believes that the invention is or is not eligible for patent protection (while not becoming a party to the proceedings, as opposed to opposition proceedings).
A person other than the applicant or holder may also file a written notice of opposition with the EPO against a European patent (application) up to nine months after the publication of its grant in the European Patent Bulletin, based on a number of opposition grounds (ie, the invention not being eligible for patent protection, the European patent not disclosing the invention in a sufficiently clear and complete manner for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art, or the subject matter of the European patent extending beyond the content of the application as filed). In such a case, an opposition fee of EUR785 (at the date of this report) would be due.
Following the publication of a PCT patent application and prior to the expiration of 28 months from the priority date (provided that the application is not (considered) withdrawn), a third party may submit observations to WIPO, free of charge, explicitly referring to prior art which he or she believes to be relevant for the assessment of inventive step or novelty (including at least one citation of any relevant prior art documents). The applicant will be notified of the comments and may comment thereon until the expiration of 30 months from the priority date. Third-party observations may be taken into account for the international search report and international preliminary examination, if they have been received in due time (to review them for the drawing up of said reports) and provided that they contain a copy of or an easily retrievable reference to relevant prior art. The observations will also be transmitted to the designated patent offices upon entry into the national phase, but those offices are not obliged to take the observations into account.