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Grant procedure

Grant procedure

The grant procedure begins when you file a patent application. During this procedure, your patent application will be either approved or denied. Our experts will assist you every step along the way towards obtaining a patent. While each country has its own procedures, the two main systems are the following.

1. Examination system

In an examination system, the patent-granting authority substantively checks whether your application meets the requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. To this end, an examiner performs a novelty search to identify the prior art. He will then enter into discussions with you or your NLO patent agent until consensus has been reached on patentability. Without such consensus, the patent will not be granted.

2. Registration system

In a registration system, the patent-granting authority only checks whether your application meets the statutory procedural requirements. While the process does usually include a novelty search, its outcome has no immediate consequences for the granting of the patent.

Most countries (the United States, China, Japan, etc.) have an examination system, this is the same in Europe. The Netherlands uses a registration system.


The approval of your patent is followed by a few necessary subsequent steps:

  • Validation
    The next step after the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted you a European patent is: selecting the European countries where you want your patent to be legally valid. The validation of your patent is done for each country separately.
  • Patent maintenance
    All of your patents and patent applications must be maintained, which is subject to an annual maintenance fee. As part of our services, we monitor current amounts, payment terms and due dates of the annual fees worldwide on your behalf and ensure timely payment.
  • Patent changes
    A patent is an intellectual property right granted to a proprietor (patent holder). Changes may occur after granting, such as changes of name and address, a transfer (sale) of your patent or its licensing to a licensee.

Go to patent agreements if you want to read more about how we can assist you in drawing up the relevant contracts, and to IP Services to read about our post-grant services.

Any questions?

NLO will support you in everything that has anything to do with patents. If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our experts.