When a European Patent is granted the applicant has to decide on the countries in which the patent will be validated or made effective. With 38 full member states, two extension states (Bosnia‑Herzegovina and Montenegro) and two validation states (Morocco and Republic of Moldova) the costs can mount up and the validation costs per country vary significantly. Some countries do not require any formal steps to be taken whereas others require a translation of either the claims or the full specification to be filed.
Up to now Belgium has required a translation of the full specification to be filed and has been one of the more expensive countries for validation. It has been announced that a new law will come into force in Belgium on 1 January 2017 from which time any European patent granted after 1 January 2017 and designating Belgium will have the same effect as a national Belgian patent.
Under this new law, filing a translation will no longer be required for validation in Belgium where the Date of Mention of Grant is on or after 1 January 2017. It may however still be necessary to provide an address for service. It is anticipated therefore that the cost of protection in Belgium will be greatly reduced in the New Year.