Since may 2008, the London Protocol –an optional agreement that reduces the translation requirements for European patents– has led to substantially reductions in translations costs for patent proprietors.
Up to now, Belgium has not adhered to this protocol and has required a French, German or Dutch translation of the full specification to be filed when the patent was granted in English.
As of January 1, 2017 Belgian patent law changes: a European Patent granted in English, French or German will be in force in Belgium without any translation requirement.
The new law will be applicable to European Patents granted on or after January 1, 2017.
The Belgian Office (OPRI) will thus no longer accept translations filed for the validation of European patents granted in English in respect of which the mention of grant, maintenance in amended form or limitation is published in the European Patent Bulletin on or after 1 January 2017.
Early publication of a translation of the claims of a pending European Patent application will remain available for parties wanting to establish provisional protection.
The expenses for obtaining patent protection in Belgium via the European route will thus be reduced to the costs of annual maintenance fees, which will please patent proprietors.
This being said, it still remains advisable to provide an address for service.