First Non-European Country to validate European patents in its territory: Morocco

Effective 1 March 2015, applicants who file for the grant of a European patent, either directly at EPO or through the available mechanisms of the Patent Convention Treaty (PCT), will have the option of requesting validation of the granted European patent in Morocco. The European patent will then have the same effect as a national Moroccan patent and the enforcement of such validated patent rights will be subject to Moroccan patent law.

The validation fee is currently set at EUR 240.00 and is payable either (a) for direct EP applications, within six months of  mention of publication of the European search report in the EP Bulletin, or (b) for PCT-derived EP applications, within the period allowed for performing the steps required for entry of the PCT application into the European phase. There is a two month grace period provided a 50% surcharge fee is paid.

Unclear at this stage appears  whether validation will require additional administrative steps, such as filing of a translation of the entire patent specification of European patents granted in a language other than French, which is not an official but broadly spoken language in Morocco and the officially accepted language for national Moroccan patents. Modern Standard Arabic and Berber are the two official state languages. Noting that many long-standing member countries of the European Patent Convention still insist on the need for a translation of European patent specifications where such are not in an official  language of the country concerned, it might be expected that Morocco may also impose this.

The EPO has indicated that it will update its brochure on “National law relating to the EPC”, which sets out the validation requirements for all member countries and extension states, before 1 March 2015.