Posted on 16/2/2018

Obtaining a patent for Tunisia via the European Patent Office

It is now possible to include up to 43 countries in a European patent application.

A validation agreement between the EPO and Tunisia entered into force on the 1 December 2017.  This means that it is now possible to include up to 43 countries in a European patent application subject to payment of an associated country fee.  This has the advantage that a single patent application can be prosecuted to grant via the European examination and grant procedure, thus avoiding the need to file separate applications before the various national patent offices including Tunisia.

Upon grant of the European application, the patent can then be validated in any of the countries that were originally designated by the European patent application;  the validation of the patent in the respective country will  provide protection that is equivalent to a national patent in that country.

Use of the European patent system provides a cost effective way of obtaining patent protection in up to 43 different countries.

To be able to include Tunisia in a European patent application it will be necessary to pay an extension country fee to the European Patent Office.  It will only be possible to include Tunisia in a European patent application which has an effective filing date of on or after the 1 December 2017.  For a European patent application filed as a regional phase application from an International patent application, the effective date of filing is the date of filing the International patent application.

The 43 possible countries that may be designated by a European patent application are:

Member states: (all automatically included in the European patent application by the payment of a single combined country designation fee).

Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Monaco, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, San Marino, Turkey.

Extension States:  Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Montenegro

Validation States:  Morocco, Moldova and Tunisia.

Additional fees are payable in order to include extension and validation states within the European patent application.

Please note that for each of the above countries there is an applicable date at which the relevant agreement with the EPO came into force.  Therefore for a small number of pending European patent applications, it may not be possible to designate all of the above listed countries.

If you would like to discuss filing a European patent application which would cover Tunisia, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Wilson Gunn