On 1 January 2017 several amendments to Belgian patent legislation will come into effect, paving the way for Belgium's accession to the London Agreement.
Under the revised legislation, patent proprietors are no longer required to file a translation into a Belgian national language of the specification of European patents granted in English on or after 1 January 2017 (mention published in the European Patent Bulletin). In practice, this means that as from that date the language regime will be the same for all European patents, regardless of the language in which they are granted, amended or limited.
However, for the validation in Belgium of European patents granted in English in respect of which the mention of grant, maintenance in amended form or limitation is published in the European Patent Bulletin before 1 January 2017, a translation into Dutch, French or German must be filed with the Belgian Office for Intellectual Property (OPRI) within three months of publication of the said mention. If the translation is not submitted within this period, the patent proprietor may, if the conditions are met, still request re-establishment of rights, as in the past.
The OPRI will thus no longer accept translations filed for the validation of European patents granted in English in respect of which the mention of grant, maintenance in amended form or limitation is published in the European Patent Bulletin on or after 1 January 2017. As hitherto, for the validation in Belgium of European patents granted in French or German no translation needs to be filed.
For further information, see the OPRI website:
EPO information brochure "National law relating to the EPC"
Users of this brochure (17th edition) should amend Table IV, columns 2 to 8 accordingly.