The Republic of Moldova is becoming the latest country to allow granted European patents take effect within its borders, bringing the total number of countries covered by a granted European patent to 42.This is good news for foreign patent applicants seeking protection in Moldova as the costs of patent prosecution should decrease.
Moldova follows in the footsteps of Morocco, which did the same thing earlier this year. These two countries are neither official EPO member states, nor are they extension states. They are in a special category of ‘validation’ states in which a granted EP can be validated, having the same effect as a national patent granted in Morocco or Moldova.
In addition to Morocco – and now Moldova – the EPO has a validation agreement in place with Tunisia which is likely to take effect in the next year or two.
The concept of extending protection outside of the territory of EPO member states is not new: it has long been possible to register granted European patents designating the UK in territories such as Hong Kong. What is new is the EPO involvement in the process. The current EPO patent application forms mention Morocco and allow applicants to pay a validation fee. We expect the EPO will shortly produce new patent forms also mentioning Moldova and allowing applicants to pay a validation fee for the Moldova validation.
Moldova was previously a member state of the Eurasian Patent Office, leaving in 2012. Since then, Moldova signed a provisional deal with the EPO and is actively pursuing EU membership, so this development is likely a stepping stone to the full EPO membership that is a pre-requisite for joining the EU.
The only puzzle is why Moldova did not use the extension-state route, joining Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro? This has been the traditional route, previously used by Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Albania, FYORM and Serbia on their way to full membership.
The new agreement takes effect 1 November 2015.
More About Moldova
- Moldova gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
- Moldovans speak Romanian (a Romance language derived from Latin).
- Despite being close to the Black Sea, Moldova is entirely landlocked.
- Moldova hasn’t always gone by that name – it used to be part of the principality of Moldavia.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.