A patent is a legal title that grants the inventor and/or patent applicant an exclusive right over a technical invention – a product or process – for a maximum of 20 years from the filing date, in the countries in which protection is requested.
This exclusive right is granted in return for the complete disclosure of the invention (written description, drawings).
Who is concerned
The patent right belongs to the inventor or their beneficiary.
Any natural person or legal entity may apply for a patent. If an invention is created by an employee as part of their employment contract, the patent belongs to the employer. Nevertheless, the employee inventor enjoys certain rights with regard to the patent.
To be patentable, the invention must satisfy certain criteria. The invention must:
- be new;
- involve an inventive step;
- be likely to have an industrial application.
A patent may not be obtained for:
- discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- purely aesthetic creations;
- plans, principles and methods applicable to intellectual activities, games, economic activities and computer programs;
- presentations of information;
- methods of medical treatment for humans or animals (however, medicines and medical devices may be patented);
- animal or plant varieties as well as essentially biological procedures used to obtain plants or animals, with the exception of microbiological procedures and products obtained via these procedures;
- inventions whose commercial exploitation would run counter to public order or accepted principles of morality.
The patent application must include a written description of the invention and, where applicable, drawings. These documents must disclose the invention clearly and completely enough to enable a person skilled in the art to produce it.
The application must also include claims. Patent claims describe the subject matter that falls under the exclusive right granted by the patent. This subject matter may be a product, process, device or use.
Applicants must pay procedural fees that are due at the different stages of the patent grant process.
The Office for Intellectual Property at the Ministry of the Economy (Office de la propriété intellectuelle du Ministère de l’Économie) offers online services for electronically preparing and filing patent applications, and electronically preparing and sending other documents related to patents.
The online services offered use a software suite developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) known as 'electronic Online Filing' (eOLF). To ensure that all the information they submit online is secure, applicants must use smartcards issued by the EPO.
The following online filing services are available:
- filing of Luxembourgish patent applications;
- filing of documents produced after a Luxembourgish patent application is filed or after the Luxembourgish patent is granted.
Applicants must request the smartcard from the European Patent Office.
They must activate the smartcard before using it, and then notify the Office for Intellectual Property that they have done so by sending an email to BPP-Helpdesk@eco.etat.lu. The registration may then be finalised.
All of these steps are also described in Office for Intellectual Property's 'Patents' portal.
The procedure for granting a patent entails the payment of certain fees:
- filing fee (national patent): EUR 40: this fee must be paid within one month of filing;
- search fee: EUR 450 (only if the preparation of a search report is requested).
To expedite the granting of a Luxembourgish patent (in less than the 18 months it usually takes), a petition for early publication must be filed. The cost for this service is EUR 49.
After the patent is granted, to keep it current the holder must pay annual maintenance fees as described below:
|3rd year: EUR 33
||12th year: EUR 165
|4th year: EUR 41||13th year: EUR 180|
|5th year: EUR 52||14th year: EUR 198|
|6th year: EUR 66||15th year: EUR 213|
|7th year: EUR 82||16th year: EUR 230|
|8th year: EUR 99||17th year: EUR 246|
|9th year: EUR 115||18th year: EUR 262|
|10th year: EUR 131||19th year: EUR 281|
|11th year: EUR 148||20th year: EUR 300|
The annual fees must be paid in advance for the upcoming patent year. Payment is due on the last day of the anniversary month in which the patent was filed.
In case of late payment of an annual fee, a EUR 20 surcharge will be applied during the 6-month grace period starting from the regular payment deadline.
The fees are to be paid by bank transfer:
- beneficiary: Office de la propriété intellectuelle (OPI) du Ministère de l’Économie
- IBAN: LU91 1111 7125 0540 0000
- BIC: CCPLLULL
The transfer reference must mention:
- the filing number (for Luxembourgish patents) or publication number (for European and international patents);
- the name of the patent owner;
- the date on which the patent was filed; and
- the nature of the fee (when paying an annual maintenance fee, specify the year of the patent concerned).
How to proceed
Filing an application for a national patent
Applications for national patents in Luxembourg must be filed with the Office for Intellectual Property at the Ministry of the Economy using any of the following methods:
- by post;
- electronically through the Benelux Patent Platform;
- by email to email@example.com;
- by hand delivery to the Office for Intellectual Property.
A Luxembourgish patent protects the invention only in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
To obtain protection in other countries, inventors must file either:
- national patent applications in those countries;
- or a European patent application or international patent application (PCT).
For this purpose, the applicant has a 12-month right of priority commencing on the date on which the national patent was filed.
Filing a European patent application
The applicant may file an application for a European patent covering up to 40 countries on the European continent (at the applicant's discretion) with the European Patent Office (EPO).
Once granted, the European patent will have the same legal status as that of a national patent in the designated countries.
An application for a European patent may also be filed online at www.epoline.org. Three options are available:
- Online Filing (eOLF);
- Online Filing 2.0;
- filing through a web form.
Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), to which more than 150 countries are party, an applicant may file an international patent application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
This procedure, which is initially centralised, may lead to a patent being granted in the countries that are signatories to the treaty, at the applicant's discretion.
The application for a Luxembourgish patent must contain:
- a request that a patent be granted;
- a description of the invention;
- one or more claims identifying the subject matter of the requested protection;
- the drawings to which the description or claims refer, when such drawings are required to understand the invention;
- an abstract;
- the identity of the inventor(s);
- where applicable, a statement specifying that the inventor objects to the publication of their name;
- where applicable, a declaration of priority regarding a previous patent application for the same invention.
To obtain a filing date for their patent application, the applicant must provide at least a description and claims.
If the application is incomplete or has any errors, the applicant will be asked to rectify it within a time limit that varies depending on the error(s) found.
The administration's response
If the application is complete and satisfies the aforementioned conditions, the department will:
- register the filing; and
- issue a confirmation of receipt.
The title constituting the patent will be granted by the Minister 18 months later in the form of a decree that will be recorded in the register and published in the Mémorial, Recueil administratif et économique (Official Journal, Administrative and Economic Volume).
In Luxembourg, patents are granted:
- without prior examination of the patentability of inventions;
- without a guarantee of the accuracy of the description.
Duration of validity
Patents are valid for up to 20 years from the filing date, subject to the payment of the annual fees. However, patents for which no search report was established are valid for up to a maximum of 6 years.
Amendment of the patent / Surrender of the patent
The patent holder has a right to amend the patent before it is granted. This right:
- allows the patent holder to amend the claims, description and drawings in the patent application;
- must be exercised no later than 4 months after the search report is sent.
Please note that a request to amend a patent does not allow the patent holder to expand on the content that was initially filed.
The patent holder may surrender the patent or one or more of the claims in it at any time.
Withdrawing the application
The holder of a patent application may at any time withdraw their application before the patent is granted.
If the patent application is withdrawn before it is published, the application file will not be made public.
After the patent is granted, the holder may abandon it by not paying the annual fee. They may also withdraw the patent, with immediate effect, by having a statement to this effect recorded in the register.
As part of the procedure to grant the patent, the applicant is required to fully disclose the invention in the technical documents. These documents will be made public by no later than the grant date.
Patent holders who do not market their invention sufficiently to supply the market may, under certain conditions, be required to grant licences to third parties.
Good to know
The official register containing all current patents in Luxembourg may be viewed in the register of the Benelux Patent Platform (eRegister).
The European Patent Office's esp@cenet database contains applications published in over 90 countries and regions and can be searched by anyone seeking information on the state of the art in a given field. Applicants are advised to conduct such a search before beginning the patent application process.
Forms / Online services
Who to contact
Ministry of the EconomyOffice for Intellectual Property - Ministry of the Economy19-21, boulevard Royal
Postal address :
Phone : (+352) 247-84113Fax : (+352) 247-94113
Patent offices established in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Office Ernest T. Freylinger S.A.234, route d'Arlon
Phone : (+352) 31 38 30-1