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  Direct Validation  
  – How to validate European
patents with less middlemen
 
 


You can get patent protection in Europe either by applying directly in each
country or more commonly, through the European Patent Office (EPO).
Using the EPO applicants can apply for patent protection in some 40 European
countries.

The European patent culture.

As in other parts of the world, patent agents helping a customer usually only act in their
own country and towards the EPO. When it becomes time to validate the granted patent
application in other countries, the patent agent asks other agents in the countries of
interest to perform the local validations.
Very often the local agent will then for instance, contact a translation agency to arrange
a translator to perform the translation.
As an example, the whole chain can include the following parties: a Japanese patentee
– a Japanese patent agent – a European patent attorney – national patent agents
– translation agencies – translators.

Please compare:


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If all of the parties add on 15-30%, the cost of the middlemen becomes higher than
the price of the whole validation.



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Obtaining patents in Europe

The process starts when you file a European patent application. The states you
choose to designate for the application are the ones where you can subsequently obtain
patent protection. A European patent attorney usually supports you but in many cases it is
possible to apply yourself, both as an individual or as a company.

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The Grant phase
The European Patent application process starts with the Grant phase and ends with
the Validation phase.
The grant phase begins after the European Patent application is filed. During the
grant phase, the European Patent application is examined at the EPO. The grant phase,
usually takes some three to five years.

Intention to Grant – 71(3)
At the end of the Grant phase the EPO issues a communication called Intention to
Grant, also referred to as a 71(3) notice. Within four months you then have to file a
translation of the patent claims in the two other, official languages of the EPO and
pay printing and grant fees to the EPO. The official languages of the EPO are English,
French and German.
From this stage and on wards Direct Validation can help you.


Decision to Grant
Some 4-6 months after the Intention to Grant, the validation phase starts with the
EPO sending out the Decision to Grant letter. Opposite to what is commonly believed,
the EPO does not grant usable patents, they only provide an examination accepted by all the
member states. To obtain patent protection you need to validate the granted patent
application in the states of interest for you.
The grant date is mentioned on the Decision to Grant letter. The time limit to validate
is 3 months from the publication of the grant in almost all member states.

The validation phase
From now on the process is decided by the patent laws of each country where you
seek protection. The validation process is rather straight-forward but there may be many
small differences in each country’s patent processes such as what forms to use, how to
set up the translation, where to file the translation, fee payments, if there is a requirement for a
local address etc.
Direct Validation probably knows better than anyone all the ins and outs as we are continuously
in contact with all of the national patent offices.




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During the 3 month period you need to:

  • Translate the granted patent to the languages of the countries where necessary.
         Some countries do not require translations, some only require translation of the
         claims, other require translation of the whole text. For more details, see the
         information for each country.
  • Submit the translations to the National Patent Offices where you seek protection.
         The possible states were decided already at the application stage.
  • Pay a fee in most countries where you seek protection. The fee varies from country
         to country; some charge a flat rate while others charge a fee that depends on the
         number of pages of the text.

    In most states it is not necessary to use a patent attorney for the validation;
    neither your European patent attorney, nor a local patent attorney.
    Direct Validation can assist you to perform direct validations without unnecessary
    middlemen, either you are a patent attorney or a patent holder.


    On completion
    When we have completed the validations for you, the following information will be
    sent back to you:

  • A Validation Report describing what has been done in each country including Proof
         of Receipt and Payments from the national patent offices.
  • The translations
         If you so prefer, we can also hand over the case to one or more local patent agents.

    After the validation
    Once the validations are concluded there is nothing more you need to do than to pay
    the annual fees in each country you seek patent protection.

    Annual fees
    To keep patents alive, it is necessary to pay annual fees to each national
    patent office (also called annuities).
    Direct Validation can administer payment of annuities for you and will continue to
    administer fee payments as long as you do not inform us to stop.
    For this reason we cooperate with some of the best annuities specialists to ensure
    both quality and prompt payments.

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