1) As of 1 January 2008, Norway and Croatia are Contracting States of the European Patent Convention. Thus, it is now possible to designate these countries in European patent applications filed after 1 January 2008.
2) As of 1 April 2008, the European Patent Office has implemented an important change in the official fee system. For European patent applications filed after that date, and for European patents which are to be granted after that date, a claims fee of 200 EURO is due for the 16th claim and each subsequent claim. This is a sharp increase as compared to the 45 EURO for the 11th claim and each subsequent claim, as has been the system until now, and it may be advisable to reduce the number of subclaims.
3) As of 1 May 2008, the "London Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC" is in force. The aim of the agreement is to reduce the costs of translations needed for validating a European patent in the designated countries. This Agreement applies to European patents granted on or after 1 May 2008.
4) Under the London Agreement (see item 3), if the description of the patent is in English, it will no longer be necessary to file a Dutch translation of the entire European patent in the Netherlands: in that case, it is sufficient if only the claims are translated into Dutch.
5) On 5 June 2008, the Dutch Patent Law has changed.
These changes involve, among other things:
- abolition of the 6-year patent, which could be obtained without novelty search: for patent applications filed on or after 5 June 2008, it will always be necessary to file a request for novelty search. Applicant can choose between international type search and national type search; the national type search fee is only 100 EURO.
- introduction of a possibility of obtaining a Netherlands patent with description filed in English and claims filed in Dutch: for patent applications filed on or after 5 June 2008, it is allowable that the description is in English. It is also possible to file the claims in English, but a translation into Dutch is to be filed within three months.