Maltese IP Office establishes process for European Patent Validations

On 1 December 2006, the Government of the Republic of Malta deposited its instrument of accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and to the Act revising the EPC of 29 November 2000 (Revision Act). Malta joined both the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the European Patent Convention (EPC), with effect from March 1, 2007. This implies that Malta can only be designated on or after March 1, 2007.

By virtue of the EPC, a European Patent shall, in each of the contracting states for which it is granted, have the effect of and be subject to the same conditions as a national patent granted by Malta, unless otherwise provided in the EPC. Thus a European patent designating Malta shall:

be equivalent to a regular national application grant the same rights as a patent granted by the Maltese IP Office claim priority of the European patent application.

The fact that the EPC provides for a single application procedure for patent protection in EPC contracting states, ensures that costs are reduced and the procedure is less time consuming.

Malta has prescribed that in the event of failure to observe the relevant Maltese provisions, the European patent shall be deemed to be void as from the point of its registration. There are a number of documentation procedures which need to be followed in order to file an application for a European Patent.

The Maltese legislation by virtue of Legal Notice 99 of 2007 provides for a system of simultaneous protection in that in cases where a European patent designating Malta and a national patent have the same filing date or the same priority date and both patents cover the same invention, the national patent will have no effect if no opposition has been filed within the prescribed time-limits.

Recently, the Maltese IP office introduced a formal validation procedure on Patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO). Such procedure includes the filing of translation documents, the designation of a local representative, the filing of the relative POA, and the original European patent application and specification.

The EPO does not grant a unitary right, instead it grants a set of independent national patents. When a European Patent Application designating Malta is granted, what is conferred is a national patent.

In order to assist with the above process, it is important to appoint a local representative to take care of all formalities and assist with these filings. Our firm is in a position to assist in this regard. For more information about the Malta European patent validation process, contact us at your convenience.