1. On 17 December 2010, the President of the European Patent Office and Morocco's Minister for Industry signed an agreement on the validation of European patents (validation agreement). On 21 November 2014, the King of Morocco promulgated an amendment to the country's industrial property legislation creating the basis for the validation system. In the meantime, a decree, an order and a notice from the Director-General of the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office (OMPIC) have clarified the details of the validation system.
2. This agreement enters into force on 1 March 2015. From that date it will be possible to validate European patent applications and patents in Morocco, where, after validation, they will confer essentially the same protection as patents granted by the EPO for the now 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation.
3. Validation in Morocco is mainly governed by Articles 50.1 to 50.5 of the country's industrial property law, as amended and supplemented, and by an information notice from the Director-General of OMPIC.
4. Validation in Morocco occurs at the applicant's request.
4.1 Validation for Morocco is deemed requested for any European or international application filed on or after 1 March 2015. It is not available for applications filed prior to that date, or for any European patents resulting from such applications.
4.2 The validation fee is EUR 240[ 1 ]. It must be paid to the EPO within six months of the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report, or, where applicable, within the period for performing the acts required for an international application's entry into the European phase.
4.3 After expiry of the relevant basic time limit, the validation fee can still be validly paid within a two-month grace period, provided that within that period a surcharge of 50% is also paid[ 2 ]. If the designation fee has not been paid and further processing is available, the validation fee can still be paid along with the further processing concerning the designation fee. If the validation fee is not paid in due time, the request for validation is deemed withdrawn.
5. A reference to Morocco as a validation state will be included in the request for grant form (EPA/EPO/OEB 1001) and the form for entry into the European phase (EPA/EPO/OEB 1200). The updated versions of the forms will be available on the EPO website as of 1 March 2015.
6. Further information about validating European patent applications and patents in Morocco will be published shortly in the EPO's Official Journal and then incorporated into its brochure on "National law relating to the EPC"[ 3 ].