From January 1, 2017, to validate an EP patent in Belgium (when granted after January 1, 2017), all you have to do, is pay the annuity fee. It is not necessary to file any translation or PoA anymore, nor even communicate with the Belgian Patent Office. However, it is advisable to register DIPS International with the Belgian Patent Office as an address for service in case the Patent Office needs to contact you.
The Belgian Parliament recently adopted a new regulation (Law of 29th June 2016, containing various provisions regarding the economy, articles 22, 48, 60) impacting patent validations in Belgium. This new law is not a ratification of the London Agreement per se. However, it has equivalent practical effects.
Until now, European patents had to be translated into one of Belgium’s official languages in order to take full effect in the country. According to the new regulation, a European patent shall grant to its holder, from the date on which the mention of its grant is published in the European Patent Bulletin and regardless of the language of the proceedings, the same rights as would be conferred by a Belgian national patent. The same applies to European patents maintained in amended form after the opposition procedure or limited after the limitation procedure. In other words, there are no translation requirements for European patents designating Belgium anymore.
This new law will apply to European patents with a date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the grant, the maintenance in an amended form after opposition, or the limitation, ON OR AFTER January 1, 2017, irrespective of the filing date of the European patent application.
Nevertheless, claims translation requirements to obtain provisional protection for European patent applications in Belgium remain. In this context, we like to draw your attention on the fact that for European patent applications filed before December 13, 2007, i.e. those filed under EPC 1973, and prosecuted in English or German, it remains safer to file a translation of the claims into French or Dutch to obtain provisional protection. Indeed, legal uncertainty remains when such applications are prosecuted in German language, so it is still recommended to translate the claims into French or Dutch in these instances. For European patent applications filed on or after December 13, 2007, a translation into French, Dutch or German is still required for any application being prosecuted in English for provisional protection to apply.
ADDRESS FOR SERVICE
Even though translations will no longer be necessary for the validation of European patents in Belgium, we still propose to register DIPS International as an address for service with the Belgian Patent Office. Having an address for service is an efficient way to guarantee that any communication, issued by a national patent office in the name of the patentee during the lifetime of the patent, will reach the right person on time.