Patent applications in the Netherlands

In 1995, the Netherlands have abolished the system of substantive examination. Patents are now granted automatically, provided that the application meets certain formal requirements. However, for a patent to be considered valid, the invention must be new and inventive.

After filing, the application is examined with respect to formal requirements.
In a second stage, a novelty search is executed, and a novelty search report is sent to applicant for his information.
The patent application is published 18 months from the priority date, although applicant may request early publication.
A patent is granted automatically after publication.

An official patent certificate is issued later (this may take some months).
There are no opposition proceedings. Third parties may request annulment in court.
For keeping a patent in force, progressive maintenance fees are due each year. The first maintenance fee is due three years from the filing date (i.e. with respect to the fourth year after filing).

Documents and information needed
On filing, we need the following documents and information.
a) Text (description, claims, abstract) and drawings of the patent application. If the text is not filed in Dutch language, a translation must be filed within three months. In case the text is in English language, only the claims need to be translated. You may also appeal to us for drafting a patent application or for amending an existing text.
b) Full name and address of applicant(s). 

The following may be supplied later:
c) Filing date, application number and country of priority application(s), if priority is to be claimed. These data need to be filed within a period of sixteen months after the priority date. A copy of the priority document may be filed later. Also, a translation of the priority document may be filed later (the translation may be Dutch, French, German or English). Normally, it is not necessary that the translation be executed, but the Patent Office may require such execution, in which case a time limit is set.
d) Full names and addresses of all inventors.
e) A deed of assignment, if any.
Normally, a power of attorney (authorization) is not required, but the Patent Office may require the filing of a power of attorney, in which case a time limit is set.

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