A European patent is not actually a regional patent, but rather a number of national patents.
For a European patent to be valid in the countries where it has been granted, it needs to be validated (confirmed) there.
The actual requirements vary between countries. The regulations defining these requirements can be straightforward, or in some cases more complicated, sometimes depending on unusual factors such as changing regulations in respect of the original application date, the language of proceedings, or even whether certain parts of the patent have references to other sections.
The European Patent Convention, however, means that the national patents cannot be rejected and will be considered to have been in force from the European Grant Date, so long as all requirements and deadlines are met, and any annuity (renewal) requirements have been satisfied.
EP Validation Deadlines
The deadline for validation varies from country to country, but typically there is a three month deadline from the European Grant Date, within which the country’s national phase validation requirements must be satisfied. In some cases an extension to this deadline is possible, sometimes only under specific conditions. This usually involves an additional fee.
Power Of Attorney
Most countries require that the validation filing agent has obtained proper Power Of Attorney from the applicant in respect of the necessary formalities for the given patent in the given country. Some countries allow for general Powers of Attorneys, which permits the attorney to act on behalf of an applicant in respect of all of their patents. In some cases, the signed Power Of Attorney document must accompany the validation filing, and in others this is not necessary or can be filed at a later date, or simply retained on file for future reference.
A large part of the cost of validation relates to the production of translations – and for good reason. Regulations vary between countries as to the importance of the accuracy of translations. In some cases the original text is reverted to under litigation or infringement claims, but in others this is not the case, or at least there are interpretations that third party rights may accrue during the period that an inaccurate translation is in force.It is of extreme importance that all translations are carried out by people who are native to the destination language, who are degree or similar educated, and ideally in the subject of the patent.
Centralised European Patent Validation
Traditionally, the process was handled by engaging with associated, partnered or otherwise selected Foreign Agents, in the desired countries, and then dealt with each country’s agent on an individual basis, organising Powers Of Attorneys, and allowing the expert with intricate knowledge of the individual country’s regulations to handle any requirements. DelValleIP’s has changed this, unrecognisably improving the entire process from start to finish, especially designed to support IP Formalities professionals.EP Validation: it’s better now …
DelValleIP’s team are specialists in European Patent Validation, which means there is a significantly reduced risk of misunderstanding, unexpected costs, or of course the unthinkable risk of accidental loss of a patent due to the complex and constantly changing regulations around Europe.
Validation is a significant part of the cost of a European Patent lifecycle, especially if many countries are required. Filing tens of thousands of validations per year, and translating millions of words into every language, means that DelValleIP’s buying power is enormous. We provide user-friendly and extremely efficient processes to our agents and suppliers which further reduce their costs, and all of this means we are able to pass on these savings to our customers.
Dramatic Time Saving
The simple act of providing an estimate to clients for a potential EP Validation process could take a patent attorney days. DelValleIP’s advanced technology means this can now be achieved in a matter of seconds. Patent Attorneys no longer have to instruct, manage, chase and liaise with individual agents around Europe. Instead they click one button, view their live progress through DelValleIP’s state-of-the-art web-based monitoring system, and pay a single invoice – reducing the time spent from days or weeks, down to minutes.
Many patent attorneys are uncomfortable providing their competitors with access to their client list. DelValleIP’s is entirely independent, and is not associated, or partnered with any Patent Attorney, or IP firm. We think this is important.