Patents and how to apply for one

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO
Checked 28 Apr 2021
3 min read
Nederlandse versie

Have you made an invention and do not want someone else to copy or use your invention? If so, you can apply for a patent.

What is a patent?

If you have a patent, others are not allowed to copy and use your invention. A patent protects your invention for up to 20 years. You can apply for a patent on technical innovations:

  • new and improved (applications of) products
  • new and improved production processes

When do you get a patent?

To get a valid patent, your invention must meet these requirements:

  • The invention must be new. In the patent database Espacenet, check whether an invention already exists (use the ‘help’ button for explanation on how to search for existing patents). Do not tell anyone about your invention until you have filed a patent application.
  • The invention must be original and not easily invented by someone else.
  • The invention must be technical and must actually work.

Applying for a patent

A patent protects your invention only in those countries where you have applied for and received a patent. You apply for a patent for each country or group of countries.

Applying for a patent in the Netherlands

For the Netherlands, you can apply for a patent at Octrooicentrum Nederland, part of Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.

Applying for a patent abroad

You can apply for a patent for a country outside the Netherlands at the patent office of that country.

Applying for a patent for multiple countries in Europe

You can apply for a European patent for several European countries at the same time. This is done at the European Patent Office (EPO).

After your application, you can choose between a European patent or a unitary patent:

  • A European patent (bundle patent) applies to several countries. You must register the patent yourself in the European countries where you want your patent to be valid.
  • A unitary patent (choose unitary effect after your application) gives you protection in 17 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden) in one go.

    Cost Calculator for the protection of Intellectual Property

    The Cost Calculator for the protection of Intellectual Property will help you calculate the cost of registering your patent, design or trademark in the Netherlands and other countries. It was developed by the Netherlands Patent Office and the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. Click this link to start the IP Cost Calculator.

    Patent attorney

    A patent attorney can advise you on protecting your invention. He or she can file a patent application for you. You can search for a patent attorney in the Patent Attorney Register.

    Central EU Patent Court

    Do you have a dispute about a European or unitary patent? For example, about infringement of your patent or the validity of a patent. If so, you can go to the Unified Patent Court in the EU. In the Netherlands, there is a local branch of the Unified Patent Court in The Hague.

    Registering digitally with the message box

    Using the Message Box you can apply digitally to the Netherlands Patent Office for registration in the Patent Attorneys' Register. The message box is a secure e-mail system with which you, as an entrepreneur, can exchange digital messages with Dutch government organisations.

This webpage is part of an EU quality network

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO