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.
Formalities for validation in Morocco of European patent applications filed from 1 March 2015 become similar to those for validation in the 38 member states of the EPC. An EPO validation fee of Euros 240 is required for designating Morocco, and it is necessary to file a French or Arabic translation of the EPO granted claims at the OMPIC and pay the required fee.
A full translation of the granted specification is not required. Given that claims in French, German and English are a requirement for a granted European patent, formalities for validation in Morocco are expected to be straightforward.
Companies developing ‘green energy’ solutions in particular, such as wind, wave and solar energy technologies, are particularly expected to extend their patent reach into Morocco following commencement of this agreement.
Before the European Patent grants, the applicant also benefits from “provisional protection” in Morocco, without any obligation to translate the text, as with any other state party to the EPC or having a similar agreement.
The opportunity to validate in Morocco only applies to European patent applications filed from March 1, 2015 (direct European patent applications or international (PCT) applications designating the EPO) onward.
Similar to this EPO-Morocco validation agreement, an EPO-Moldova agreement and an EPO-Tunisia agreement are expected to come into force in 2015 for validation of European patents in those states.