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24-07-2014 » Agreement signed between the EPO and Tunisia

Tunisia has signed an agreement with the EPO (European Patent Office) making it possible to extend protection conferred by a European patent in Tunisia.

Reinforcement of the desirability of European patents

The system implemented by the EPO for granting a European patent is a centralised process that, following a single examination procedure, enables an invention to be protected in the 38 member states of the EPC (European Patent Convention):

  • the 28 current member states of the European Union, and
  • 10 other signatory nations including Turkey and Norway. 
Map: EPC’s member states / Extension agreements / Validation agreements

Extension agreements have made it possible to extend this protection to Bosnia-Herzegovina and to Montenegro.

In 2013, the EPO signed validation agreements with Morocco and Moldova, rounded off by the newly-signed agreement with Tunisia.

These agreements reinforce the attractiveness of the European patent and helps affirm its intrinsic value.

Validation of a European patent in Tunisia: Practical issues

The new agreement will enable validation of the rights conferred by a European patent in Tunisia, and thus to obtain rights identical to those provided by a national Tunisian patent.

To do this it will be necessary to pay the EPO a validation fee for Tunisia and, when the European patent is granted, to file the complete text (in French, English or Arabic) at the Tunisian National Patent office – INNORPI – and to pay that office an official fee.

If the applicant so wishes he can benefit from “provisional protection” in Tunisia before the grant of the European patent.

These possibilities for validation in Tunisia will only arise for European patent applications that are filed at the EPO after the date at which the agreement enters into force.  This date has not yet been set.

With regard to the earlier agreements with Morocco and Moldova (signed in 2013), the EPO considers that these will enter into force by the end of 2014.  The validation agreement with Tunisia is therefore, unlikely to enter into force before 2015.

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