Spring direct naar de hoofdnavigatie of de inhoud

Patent application

As a business owner, you want to meet market demand and stay a step ahead of the competition.  Patents can play an important role here.  When you are choosing the right strategy and approach it is essential that these are in keeping with your situation. You can expect us to have skilled specialists in house with knowledge about your technology or business sector.

V.O. helps a wide variety of clients in different sectors with their specific challenges. We adopt a tailor-made approach for each company where our starting point is always: IP is an important resource for enabling your idea or company to be more profitable. It is an investment that pays returns.

  • A well-considered approach to your IP strengthens the reputation of your company around the world. And that helps you to find serious partners.
  • A strong IP portfolio can contribute to the value of your business. Furthermore, your rights or issuing licences allow innovations to be more profitable.
  • Innovation often involves ups and downs: that means investing over and over again. A patent can protect your work against misuse by others.
  • Patents can attract investors: they represent financial value and reassure interested parties that your ideas are protected.

Our approach

Our patent attorneys have expertise and experience in various sectors. This means that you can rely on a full-fledged conversation partner for your specialists. We take you step by step through the development of a successful patent application or IP strategy. We do this in a cost-effective, transparent and focused manner. We closely align our approach to your specific requirements and we provide an insight into timing and costs.  You can also expect us to be proactive and to be up-to-date on IP related issues. You can see this for instance in seminars, our magazine “IP leads” and info sheets focused on specific topics, such as '10 golden rules for funding of IP'. Watch also the video below that explains the procedure for filing a patent application:

How exactly can we help you?

  • Drawing up and submitting patent applications
  • Opposition
  • Administration and outsourcing
  • Patent search
  • Infringement advice and advice on validity
  • Product release research
  • Co-ordination and substantive counsel in disputes, litigation
  • Legal advice for license agreements, contracts and terms

Legal support

Our attorneys at law who work together with our patent attorneys also provide various legal services in the intellectual property field. We can provide advice in the event of disputes and support on among other things employment agreements, license agreements, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and the sale of IP. The hallmarks of the V.O. legal practice are short lines of communication and tailor-made service.

Frequently asked questions

Firstly, you need the formal right to file the application. This is a right you have if you are the inventor. Under the laws in the Netherlands, the right of employees whose work activities encompass invention passes in principle to their employer. This also applies to students who are training with someone else, and to university employees. It is important that you have properly documented how you are the holder of the right. You do not have to demonstrate this when you file the application, but it may cause the patent to become invalid at a later date.

If you are the holder, then you need to prepare a patent application, or have it prepared for you, and file the application. To do this, you need a description of the invention and you will also often need a description of practical examples of how the invention can be applied.

Furthermore, you need to pay all of the required fees. These depend on the country in which you file the application and on the stage of the application.

It is advisable to seek advice from a patent attorney who is a specialist in all of the detailed and procedural aspects involved with applying for a patent.

The cost of patent-granting procedures can be substantial. After a patent has been granted, it is necessary to make payments to maintain the patent. Since a patent is essentially a national right, both the granting phase and the maintenance phase need to be completed separately in each country. This means that obtaining and maintaining a patent in multiple countries is much more expensive than doing this in a single country. On top of this, patents granted under the European Patent Convention need to be validated after they have been granted in the countries where you want the rights to apply.

The granting phase and maintenance involve figures in the region of several tens of thousands of euros in larger countries such as Europe (as a whole), Japan, or the United States. Additionally, there are the validation costs in Europe, which can easily amount to between 1,000 and 1,500 euros in each country. Naturally, the application only needs to be drawn up once, though a significant part of the costs in foreign procedures, including validation, is down to the fact that the application and all correspondence related to it often need to be translated into the local language.

Yes you can, but that is not advisable. A patent application is a legal document that provides a very accurate description of technical knowledge with the aim of converting this knowledge into the broadest possible right. Patent applications, as for any legal documents, need to meet various requirements. The patent-granting procedure often takes several years and it is not possible to change the text later. This means that the invention has to be described accuratel23y when the application is filed in such a way that the authority granting the patent can work with it. That is why patent attorneys have mastered a number of basic rules regarding formulation and wording. If you do not have practice in the correct way of describing the technical knowledge for which the patent is filed, there is a high chance that the text will fall short after going through years of the granting procedure. As a consequence it may not be possible to acquire a patent, even if the discovery met all the technical requirements.

That depends on the situation. Generally speaking, the quicker you apply, the better, because to patent an invention it needs to be novel. The sooner you file an application, the smaller the chance that knowledge about it will have accidentally leaked or that a competitor who has independently invented more or less the same thing has filed a patent application. However, it is beneficial, particularly in the field of chemistry, when there is sufficient substantiation of the advantages of the invention and its uses at the time of application. You cannot amend the text of a patent application at a later date so when you file the application you need to look carefully at how the various features are connected and which areas of application are anticipated. Patent applications that have a seemingly speculative text and are not substantiated may be rejected on the grounds of a lack of novelty or inventiveness.

A patent solely gives a right to use your invention. This means that a patent allows you to prevent others from using your invention. However, a patent does not automatically give you the right to use that invention. This right applies for a maximum of 20 years for the selected countries you have specified. Alternative ways of protecting your invention against use by third parties include keeping the invention secret. This is usually cheaper and there is no time limit, but the result is more uncertain. An employee may take the knowledge with him to a competitor, or a competitor may reverse engineer a product. If you would like to take action against stolen or retrieved trade secrets under the Trade Secrets Directive, then you will need to have a good registration system for those secrets in your company.

Show all frequently asked questions

Contact our experts

Huub Maas

Huub Maas

  • European and Dutch Patent Attorney
  • Partner
More experts


The lithium-ion battery

It is impossible to imagine our daily life without this invention, which was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2019, and developed by a Brit, an American and a Japanese. The lithium-ion battery is used everywhere, from laptops, cell phones to electric bicycles and cars.Continue reading

Well-prepared for the future

Column by Cees Jansen, former chairman V.O. After 26 years, I have left V.O. I was chairman for the last 12 years, a task that I have passed on to Herman Witmans. This is a good moment to look back.Continue reading

Recommended by JUVE Patent

In May 2020, V.O. was recommended by JUVE Patent in the categories Patent Filing and Prosecution. Listed as recommended individuals are Marco Box, Leo Jessen, Bernard Ledeboer, Otto Oudshoorn and Jetze Beeksma.Continue reading


Knowledge for Growth 2020

Don’t miss the 2020 digital edition on 9 and 10 September and capture the attention of 1,200 high-level life sciences actors from about 550 companies & organisations! The cream of the European life sciences community will be participating in the 16th edition of flanders.bio’s annual knowledge for growth business conference, attracting decision makers from biotech, pharma and medtech as well as investors, universities, topnotch research institutes, policymakers and competence providers. Continue reading

IP World Summit 2020

Hilton London Syon Park, Park Road, Isleworth, Brentford, UK

IP World provides the opportunity to network with senior IP professionals from across the Globe, and from global corporates across the high tech, telecoms, software, pharmaceutical, retail, FMCG, online and oil & gas industries. Continue reading

Sustainable Plastics & Materials Expo 2020

ATLAS Theater, Raadhuisplein 100, Emmen, Netherlands

The first edition of the Sustainable Plastics & Materials Expo 2020 will take place in Chemical Cluster Emmen in the Netherlands. Continue reading