1. On 3 July 2014, the President of the European Patent Office and the Tunisian Minister for Industry, Energy and Mines signed an agreement on validation of European patents (validation agreement). Having received assent and been ratified by Tunisian Law No. 2016-13 of 3 March 2016 and Decree No. 2016-23 of the President of the Republic of Tunisia dated 15 March 2016, the validation agreement was then published by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 2017-67 dated 2 May 2017. The adoption of these pieces of legislation has created the legal basis necessary for the validation system to operate.
2. The validation agreement will enter into force on 1 December 2017. From that date it will be possible to validate European patent applications and patents in Tunisia, 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 Tunisia is mainly governed by the annex to the validation agreement, as published together with Presidential Decree No. 2017-67 of 2 May 2017 in the Republic of Tunisia's Official Gazette No. 39 of 16 May 2017.
4. Validation in Tunisia occurs at the applicant's request.
4.1 Validation in Tunisia is deemed requested for any European or international application filed on or after 1 December 2017. 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 180.[ 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 If the validation fee is not paid in due time, the request for validation is deemed withdrawn.[ 3 ]
5. A reference to Tunisia 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 December 2017.
6. Further information about validating European patent applications and patents in Tunisia will be published in the EPO's Official Journal in due course and then incorporated into its brochure on "National law relating to the EPC."[ 4 ]
[ 1 ] The code for the validation fee for Tunisia (TN) is 422.
[ 2 ] The code for the surcharge on the validation fee for Tunisia (TN) is 452.