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Last modified: 9 October 2014

General information on patenting procedures started

on the basis of amended Law XXXIII of 1995* on the Protection of Inventions by Patents

1. Examination on filing the application
Following the filing of the patent application, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) examines whether the application satisfies the requirements for according the date of filing, the filing and the search fee have been paid, as well as in case of foreign applications the description, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in Hungarian language.

1.1 Date of filing
The HIPO notifies the applicant of the accorded date of filing. If the date of filing cannot be accorded, the HIPO invites the applicant to correct the defects within thirty days. If the applicant complies with the invitation within the specified time limit, the date of receipt of the correction shall be accorded as the date of filing. Failing which, the application shall be considered withdrawn.

1.2. Filing and search fee
Information on the filing and search fee is contained in point 1 of the Schedule of Fees annexed to this Guide. The fee shall be payable to the account of the HIPO, with the indication of the reference number. Payments without a reference number shall not be valid. If the filing and search fee has not been paid within two months after the filing date, the application shall be considered withdrawn. The HIPO may accord an exemption from the filing and search fee if the patentee cannot pay them because of his wages, income and financial standing.

1.3. Parts missing from the description and missing drawings
If the applicant, of his own accord or after communication, provides the parts missing from the description and the missing drawings within two months after the filing date or the date of the communication, the filing date will be replaced by date of correction, except that the correction is based on a priority document. The filing date remains the original date, if the applicant has not provided new description part or drawings even after communication or if the corrected version is withdrawn within two months after the date of notification on the modification of the filing date.

1.4. Documents in Hungarian language
Where the documents making up the patent application have been prepared in a foreign language, the patent description with the claims, the abstract and the drawings shall be filed in Hungarian language within four months after the date of filing, failing which the application shall be considered withdrawn.

2. Examination as to formal requirements
If a patent application satisfies the requirements prescribed for according a date of filing, the filing and search fee has been paid, and the description, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in Hungarian language, the HIPO examines the application, whether it satisfies the prescribed formal requirements. In the case of defects revealed during examination as to formal requirements, the HIPO invites the applicant by a decision to correct the defects and continues the procedure on the basis of the correction. Where the applicant does not reply to the invitation to correct the defects within the fixed time limit, the application shall be considered withdrawn.

3. Novelty search
If a patent application satisfies the requirements prescribed for according a date of filing, the filing and search fee has been paid and the description, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in Hungarian language, the HIPO carries out a novelty search and draws up a search report on the basis of the claims and with due regard to the patent description and any drawings. The search report shall indicate those documents and data which may be taken into consideration in deciding whether the invention to which the patent application relates is new and involves an inventive step. The search report together with copies of any cited document shall be transmitted by the HIPO to the applicant. The HIPO issues official information about the completion of the novelty search in the Gazette of Patents and Trademarks together with the publication of the patent application, or separately if the novelty search report is available at a later date.

4. Publication
After the expiry of 18 months from the earliest date of priority, the HIPO publishes the patent application in the Gazette of Patents and Trademarks. At that time, the following data and facts relating to the patent application are given: in addition to the data published on Communication of certain data, the name of the inventor, the international classification code of the invention, the abstract with the characteristic figure, as well as a statement whether the publication is to take place after the preparation of the search report. For the term of patent protection, annual fees shall be paid (see point 14 of this Guide). Publication gives rise to the obligation to pay this fee. The applicant shall be notified of the date of publication and the amount of annual fee before publication. The documents of the published patent application that may be inspected are available to the public, the HIPO provides any person with their copies on payment of a fee.
Provisional patent protection having retroactive effect to the date of application begins with the publication of the application. It shall become definitive if a patent is granted to the applicant. Rights conferred by the patent can be enforced only on the basis of definitive protection.

5. Substantive examination
The HIPO carries out a substantive examination of the published patent application at the special request of the applicant. Substantive examination may be requested simultaneously with the filing of the patent application or within six months at the latest after the date of the official information on the performance of the novelty search. Failing which, provisional patent protection shall be considered relinquished. In the case of defects revealed during examination as to substantive requirements, the HIPO invites the applicant to correct the defects, to submit comments or to divide the application, according to the nature of the objection. A patent application shall be rejected by the HIPO in whole or in part if it does not meet the examined requirements even after the correction of the defects or the submitting of comments. If the applicant fails to reply to the invitation or to divide the application, he shall be considered to have relinquished the provisional patent protection.

6. Examination fee
The request for substantive examination is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 2 of the Schedule of Fees). The examination fee shall be payable within two months from the filing of the request. Failing which, the applicant shall be considered to have withdrawn the application or to have relinquished the provisional patent protection. The examination fee shall be refunded on request if the applicant withdraws the application or relinquishes the provisional patent protection before the date of the official information on the novelty search. The HIPO may accord an exemption from the examination fee if the patentee cannot pay it because of his wages, income and financial standing.

7. Amendment and Internal priority
A patent application may not be amended in such a way that, by introducing new subject matter, it contains subject matter, which extends beyond the content of the application at the date of filing. Subject to this limitation, the applicant shall be entitled to amend the description, claims and drawings until the decision on the grant of patent becomes final. The request for amendment is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 4 of the Schedule of Fees). The applicant may file a new application claiming internal priority within twelve months from the date of filing.

8. Division
If the applicant has claimed patent protection for a group of inventions in one application, he may divide the application, retaining the date of filing and any earlier priority, until the decision on the grant of patent becomes final. The request for division is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 7 of the Schedule of Fees). The fee shall be paid within two months from the filing of the request for division. Failing which, the request for division shall be considered withdrawn.

9. Non-extendable time limits – Restitutio in integrum
The time limits prescribed by the Patent Law (see points 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 6, 7, 9 and 10.1 of this Guide) shall not be extended. Failure to comply with them shall involve legal consequences without notice. In patent matters - unless excluded by the Law - a request for restitutio in integrum may be submitted within two months of the unobserved time limit, if the failure has occurred through no fault of his own, submitting at the same time the omitted action. Where the failure to comply became known to the party subsequently or the cause thereof was removed subsequently, the time limit shall be reckoned from the date on which the failure to comply became known or the cause thereof was removed. A request for restitutio in integrum is only admissible within twelve months of the time limit not complied with.

10. Time limits set by the HIPO – Extension of time limits – Continuation of the process
Where the Law does not prescribe any time limit, an extension of the time limit set by the invitation of the HIPO can be requested before the expiration thereof. This request is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 5 of the Schedule of Fees). In the case of failing any set time limit, the continuation of the procedure may be requested within two months of the communication of the decision made because of the failure, submitting at the same time the omitted action. This request is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 6 of the Schedule of Fees). If the unobserved time limit has related to payment of fees, the fee of the request shall be paid in addition to this fee.

11. Approval before the grant of a patent – Fee for grant
Before the grant of the patent, the HIPO transmits to the applicant the text of the description, the claims and drawings forming the basis of the grant. The applicant may indicate his approval of the text transmitted within three months. If the applicant agrees or fails to submit comments, the patent shall be granted on the basis of the transmitted description, claims and drawings. If the applicant proposes amendments or files new description, claims or drawings, the HIPO decides whether these shall be taken account when stating the final text. The fee for grant (see point 3 of the Schedule of Fees) shall be payable within the prescribed time limit of three months, failing which provisional patent protection shall be considered relinquished. The HIPO may accord an exemption from the fee for grant if the patentee cannot pay it because of his wages, income and financial standing.

12. Grant of patent
If the patent application and the invention to which it relates meet all the requirements of the examination, the HIPO shall grant a patent for the subject matter of the application. After the grant of the patent, the HIPO issues a patent certificate to the patentee.

13. Term of patent protection
Definitive patent protection has a term of 20 years beginning on the filing date of the application.

14. Maintenance of patent protection (annual fee)

  1. The amount of annual fees payable during the term of patent protection and the mode of their payment are contained in point 10 of the Schedule of Fees. The fees shall be payable to the account of the HIPO, with the indication of the reference number or the registration number and the designation of the fee. Payments without a reference number or a registration number shall not be valid.
  2. The annual fee for the first year is due on the filing date and the fees for the subsequent years shall be payable in advance on the anniversaries of the filing date. The annual fees which become due before publication shall be payable within a period of grace of six months from the date of publication, the annual fees which become due before the grant of a patent treated as State secret shall be payable within a period of grace of six months from the date on which the decision on the grant comes into effect, and the other annual fees shall be payable within a period of grace of six months from the due date. The annual fees shall be payable without a surcharge in the first three months of the six months grace period, from the fourth month of that period with a surcharge of 50 per cent. The patentee shall provide for the payment regularly and in due time even without special notice of the HIPO.
  3. In the case of transitional patent protection, the annual fees which become due before grant shall be payable within a period of grace of six months from the date on which the decision on the grant comes into effect and the annual fees for the subsequent years shall be payable within a period of grace of six months from 1 July of each year.
  4. If the patent application is divided, the annual fees shall be payable for each application resulting from the division beginning from the first year. If the patent application is divided following publication, the grace period for the payment of annual fees for the subsequent applications and for those which became due preceding the division, shall begin with the date on which the decision on the acceptance of the division comes into effect.
  5. The payment of the annual fees may be effected within three months preceding the starting date of the grace period.
  6. The HIPO may grant a deferment of the annual fees due for the first to the fifth years if the patentee cannot pay them because of his wages, income and financial standing. The fees subject to the deferment shall be paid together with the annual fees for the sixth year.
  7. Annual fees paid more than three months before the starting date of the period of grace, as well as the fees paid in a smaller amount than prescribed in the case of the lapse of patent protection shall be refunded by the HIPO on request.
  8. Failure to duly pay the annual fees shall give rise to the lapse of protection.

15. Restoration of patent protection
Restoration of patent protection lapsed by reason of failure to pay annual fees may be requested within three months following the expiry of the six months period of grace. Within that period, the double of the annual fee due for the year in question shall be paid (see point 11 of the Schedule of Fees). In the case of the refusal of the request for restoration, the fee for the request shall be refunded by the HIPO on request.

16. Lapse of provisional patent protection
Provisional patent protection lapses with retroactive effect to the date of filing
a) if the patent application is definitely rejected;
b) if the annual fees have not been paid by the end of the period of grace;
c) if the applicant has relinquished protection.

17. Lapse of definitive patent protection
Definitive patent protection lapses:
a) when the period of protection expires, on the day following the date of expiration;
b) if the annual fees have not been paid by the end of the period of grace, on the day following the due date;
c) if the patentee relinquishes the protection, on the day following receipt of the relinquishment or at an earlier date specified by the person relinquishing protection;
d) if the patent is revoked, with retroactive effect to the filing date of the application.

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