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If you have invented something, you can apply to the Netherlands Patent Office (Octrooicentrum Nederland), a department of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, for a patent. Your invention will then be protected by patent law, usually for a maximum period of 20 years. This means that no one else may adopt or apply your idea or design without your permission. All patent applications are published.
Applying for a patent abroad
An invention will only be patent protected in those countries in which a patent has been applied for and granted. International patent applications can be submitted to the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) or the individual national offices of the countries in which you want to apply for a patent. You can calculate how much a patent will cost in the Cost Calculator for Protection of Intellectual Property.
Dutch validation of a European patent
A European patent may be validated in the Netherlands by fulfilling the set translation requirements, which are:
- You must file a translation of the claims in Dutch with the Netherlands Patent Office within 3 months after the European patent is granted;
- If you filed the patent with the European Patent Office in a language other than English, you must file a translation of the description in English or in Dutch;
- Filing the translation costs you €25, which must be paid within 3 months.
Protection of topographies of semiconductor products
You can apply to the Netherlands Patent Office for the protection of semiconductors (chips and microprocessors). You must submit an application within two years of first operating your semiconductor product. The submission of the application is stated in the Hoofdblad publication of NL Patent Office.
Registration and consultation Register of Patent Attorneys
If you intend to work as a patent attorney in the Netherlands, you have to register in the Register of Patent Attorneys (Octrooigemachtigdenregister, in Dutch). To register, you can apply to the managing director of the Netherlands Patent Office. In some cases, you can apply for an exemption from the Supervisory Board (Raad van Toezicht) of the Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys (Orde van Octrooigemachtigden).
As a patent attorney, you must observe a number of rules of conduct, which have been laid down by the Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys. As a member of the Institute, you are obliged to keep your knowledge up to date. Every year, you must provide the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Patent Attorneys with an overview of the training you received. You can check whether someone is a patent attorney by consulting the Register of Patent Attorneys (in Dutch). You can search by name or office of the patent agent, postcode, location or discipline.
Online registration procedure via Message Box
You can ask to be added to the Register of Patent Attorneys digitally via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.