Following in the footsteps of its neighbor Morocco, the Tunisian patent office, or the National Standardization and Industrial Property Institute (INNORPI), signed, on July 3 2014, an agreement which will allow owners of EPO grants to validate their patent(s) in Tunisia by designating it as they would any other EPC member state. Although neither country is an EPC member state, these agreements will give both countries a pseudo-EPC status with regards to patent protection, and will encourage more filings and foreign investment.
Neither country’s respective patent office currently performs substantive examination. Thus by entering into this type of agreement with the EPO, both countries have ensured that validated patents in their countries will have the same legal effect as national applications and patents, and will be subject only to local patent legislation.
As a reminder, in December 2010, the Moroccan patent office, or the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office (OMPIC), signed a similar agreement. Up to this date however, the Moroccan patent law has not been amended to start implementing the validation of European grants. It is anticipated that such an amendment will be introduced this year and voted into law.
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