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29-01-2015 » The EPO-Morocco agreement on validation of European Patents comes into force

At the end of 2010, the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) signed the very first agreement on validation of European Patents in Morocco. This agreement will come into force on March 1, 2015, concluding several years of preparatory work between the two offices.

The European Patent: a single procedure conferring extended rights

The European Patent granting process administered by the EPO is a centralised system which, after a single examination procedure, enables an invention to be protected in the 38 States that are signatories to the European Patent Convention (EPC).

The entry into force of the current agreement extends the protection possibilities of an invention to a 39th state, even though Morocco is not a signatory to the EPC.

The required formalities will be reduced and made similar to those required for European Patent validation in the member states of the EPC. This agreement provides considerable simplification for owners of European Patent applications who want to protect their inventions in Morocco.

The EPO-Morocco validation agreement precedes those concluded between the EPO and Moldova (2013), and between the EPO and Tunisia (2014), both of which are scheduled to come into force in 2015, and will allow for European Patent validation in those states.

Map: EPC’s member states / Extension agreements / Validation agreements

Validating a European Patent in Morocco: the key points

This agreement will enable validation of the rights conferred by a European Patent in Morocco, and thus, the acquisition of identical rights to those provided by a Moroccan patent.

For that purpose, it will be necessary to pay to the EPO a validation fee of Euros 240 for Morocco. After that, when the European Patent is granted, it will be necessary to file a copy of claims at the OMPIC (in French or in Arabic) and pay the required fee to this office.

Before the European Patent grants, the applicant can benefit from “provisional protection” in Morocco, without any obligation to translate the text.

The opportunity to validate in Morocco only applies to European patent applications filed from March 1, 2015 (direct European patent applications or international applications designating the EPO) onward.

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