As earlier announced on the Awapatent IP Blog here, Tunisia and Morocco has signed an agreement with the EPO on the validation of European patents in the respective countries.
Effective 1 March 2015 the agreement with Morocco entered in to force, thus enabling applicants with a European patent application filed on or after this date to validate their granted patent in Morocco – and thereby to obtain patent protection in Morocco in a significantly cheaper way than hitherto.
Thereby Morocco has become the first ever non-European country to begin validation European patents.
Morocco is automatically designated for all European patent applications filed on or after 1 March 2015.
Validation in Morocco costs a flat rate fee of EUR 240. The fee is payable at the same time as the ordinary designation fees, namely 6 months calculated from publication of the European application.
Late payment within 2 months is possible subject to a surcharge of 50 % of the above-mentioned fee.
Upon grant of the European patent, a translation will have to be filed. At the time of writing this the translation requirements are not completely clear. Indications, however, are that only a translation of the granted claims into Arabic or French must be submitted to the Moroccan IPO. An exception may be for European patents granted in German, in which case a translation of the description into Arabic, French or English will also have to be filed.
In any case the time limit for filing the validation will, as in all other cases, be three months from the publication of the decision to grant.
In other words it seems that it will in most cases not be necessary to file a full translation of the application, which is otherwise required for a direct national application in Morocco. Moreover, as a French translation of the claims will already be on file due to the EPO requirements relating to the grant of the European patent, validation in Morocco will in most cases incur no additional translation costs.
As such, for applicants interested in obtaining protection in Morocco this new procedure should prove significantly cheaper and more streamlined than applying for a direct national patent in Morocco.
Troels Peter Rørdam, European Patent Attorney & Certified Danish Patent Agent