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Validation of European patents in Belgium: changes to the translation requirements

Changes to the validation requirements for European patents in Belgium as from 01.01.2017

Belgian Parliament has recently adopted changes to national intellectual property law (integrated in the Code of Economic law), which abolish the requirement of submitting a translation when validating a European patent in Belgium. The changes come into effect on 1 January 2017.

Under the old law, a translation of the entire patent specification into one of Belgium’s official languages (Dutch, French and German) was required where the European patent issued in English. No translation was required where the European patent issued in French or German, since these languages are official languages of Belgium.

The translation requirement for European patents issued in English has now been abolished. Under the new provision, which will apply to European patents granted on or after 1 January 2017, no translation– not even of the claims – is required for a European patent to have full effect in Belgium, independently of the language in which the European patent issued, provided that renewal fees are paid on an annual basis. The amount of the renewal fees presently remains unchanged.

Since the majority of European patent applications are in English language, the new provision will lead to major cost savings for most applicants wishing to validate their European patent in Belgium.

Do not hesitate to contact Pronovem with any questions you might have in this regard.