Under an agreement between the EPO and the Moroccan Government, Morocco will be the first of the EPO’s “validation” countries.  From 1 March 2015, if “validation” in Morocco is chosen for a European Patent application, the European Patent will have effect in Morocco as if it were a Moroccan national patent.

Morocco will be the first African country to have a direct link of this type with the EPO.  It is rumoured that a similar agreement with Tunisia will be made as well.

The “validation” procedure for Morocco will operate in a similar fashion to the EPO’s existing “extension” agreements.  It will be available for all European Patent applications and PCT applications filed on or after 1 March 2015.

It will not be available for any applications filed before that date – or any European Patent applications resulting from such earlier filed applications.  So, for example, the EP regional phase of a PCT filed on 28 February 2015 will not have Moroccan validation available to it.

A “validation fee” must be paid to the EPO for the effect in Morocco.  At the moment it seems the fee will be Euros 240.  It will be due by 6 months from publication of the search report (often, for PCT applications, this will in effect be the 31 month deadline for European regional phase entry).  Late payment will be possible under certain conditions.

Further information, relating to the detail of how European Patents will take effect in Morocco, will be released soon.  In the meantime we can speculate as to which further countries might be added in the future – Tunisia is a strong possibility, but where else?