European Patent Validation Agreement Signed with Tunisia

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Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The staff at Franks & Co were saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the rest of the Royal Family.

The United Kingdom is now officially in a period of mourning until after the Queen’s state funeral which is to be held on Monday 19 September. Normal day-to-day business will continue throughout this period.

The UK government has declared the day of the funeral to be a national Bank Holiday, so the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office will be closed on Monday 19 September.

The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office’s official guidance on bank holidays is given below:

The office is deemed to be closed on weekends, Good Friday, Christmas Day and all England and Wales bank holidays for all types of business, except for the filing of new applications not claiming priority. If documents are filed for these types of business at times when the office is deemed to be closed, they will receive an official filing date of the next working day.

Any official time period which expires on a weekend or any other day on which the office is closed is extended to the next working day.

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European patents are filed and prosecuted by the European Patent Office in a single language.

European Patents cover all states of the European Union, plus Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Monaco, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, San Marino and Turkey. They can also be extended to Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro.

Tunisia now looks to be added to the list of states included in European patents.

In July 2014, Benoît Battistelli, President of the European Patent Office (EPO), and Kamel Ben Naceur, Tunisian Minister for Industry, Energy and Mines, signed an agreement on the validation of European patents for Tunisia.

"This is a strategic breakthrough for the patent system in Tunisia", declared President Battistelli. "The agreement will simplify access to patent protection in Tunisia for European patent applicants and proprietors. Ultimately it will help to strengthen innovation in the country and open up new industrial and commercial prospects for foreign investors."

"The signing of this validation agreement is a major step forward for Tunisia," said Minister Ben Naceur for his part. "The extended co-operation that it represents is bound up with the ongoing discussions between Tunisia and the EU on a possible deep and comprehensive free-trade agreement. We expect it to boost foreign investment in our country and stimulate national innovation and Tunisia's industrial development."

It is believed that under the terms of the agreement, European patent applicants and proprietors will be able to validate the legal effects of their European patents and applications on Tunisian territory, even though Tunisia is not an EPO member state. Validated European patent applications and patents will have the same legal effect as Tunisian national applications and patents, and will be subject only to Tunisian patent legislation. The agreement has to be ratified before it can enter into force.

Co-operation between the EPO and the Tunisian Patent Office (the National Standardisation and Industrial Property Institute, or INNORPI) goes back over ten years, and has intensified since 2011. The chief co-operation activities are the training of INNORPI examiners in prior-art searching and in drafting written opinions on the patentability of applications filed directly with INNORPI. The EPO and INNORPI also co-operate in the field of Tunisian patent document publication.

(Source: European Patent Office)

Robert B Franks, European Patent Attorney

 

Article Published July 7, 2014