General information on patenting procedures started

by virtue of Act XXXIII of 1995 on the Protection of Inventions by Patents

1. Examination on filing the application
Following the filing of a patent application, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) examines whether the application satisfies the requirements for according the date of filing, the filing fee and the search fee have been paid as well as, in the case of foreign applications, the description, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in the Hungarian language.
1.1 Date of filing
HIPO notifies the applicant of the accorded date of filing. If the date of filing cannot be accorded, HIPO invites the applicant to rectify the irregularities within two months. If the applicant complies with the invitation within the specified time limit, the date of receipt of the rectification shall be accorded as the date of filing. Failing this, the document received shall not be considered as a patent application and the procedure shall be terminated.
 1.2. Filing fee and search fee
Information on the filing fee and the search fee is contained in point 1 of the Schedule of Fees annexed to this Guide. The fees shall be payable to the account of HIPO, with the indication of the reference number and the designation (title). Payments without a reference number shall not be valid. If the filing fee and the search fee are not paid within two months after the filing date, the application shall be considered withdrawn. HIPO may accord an exemption from the filing fee and the search fee, upon request, if the natural person right holder cannot pay them because of his wage, income or financial standing.
1.3. Parts missing from the description and missing drawings
If the applicant, voluntarily or on invitation, provides the parts missing from the description or the missing drawings within two months after the filing date or the date of the invitation, the filing date will be replaced by the date of the rectification, except where the rectification is based on a priority document. The filing date remains the original date of filing, if the applicant does not provide a new description part or drawing on invitation, or if the rectified version is withdrawn within one month after the date of notification on the modification of the filing date.
1.4. Documents in the Hungarian language
If the attachments of the application have been prepared in the English language, the patent description with the claims, the abstract and the drawings shall be filed in the Hungarian language within twelve months after the date of filing, or within sixteen months after the date of the earliest priority date, whichever expires earlier. If the attachments of the application have been prepared in a foreign language other than English, the patent description with the claims, the abstract and the drawings shall be filed in the Hungarian language within four months after the date of filing. Failing this, the application shall be considered withdrawn.

2. Examination as to formal requirements
If a patent application satisfies the requirements prescribed for according the date of filing, the filing fee and the search fee have been paid, and the description, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in the Hungarian language, HIPO will examine the application whether it satisfies the prescribed formal requirements. If irregularities are revealed during the examination as to formal requirements, HIPO will invite the applicant to rectify the irregularities and will continue the procedure on the basis of the rectification. Where the applicant does not reply to the invitation to rectify the irregularities within the prescribed time limit, the application shall be considered withdrawn.

3. Novelty search
If a patent application satisfies the requirements prescribed for according the date of filing, the filing fee and the search fee have been paid and the description, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in the Hungarian language, HIPO will carry out a novelty search and draw up a search report on the basis of the claims and with due regard to the patent description and any drawings. The search report indicates 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 HIPO to the applicant. 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 search report is available at a later date.
3.1 Written Opinion (optional)
At the request of the applicant, HIPO shall draw up a search report supplemented with a written opinion (hereinafter “written opinion”) on the patentability of the patent application.The written opinion is a reasoned preliminary statement whether the invention, taking into account the documents and the data cited in the search report, appears to meet the requirements of novelty, inventive step and industrial application.

The request for a search report supplemented with a written opinion may be filed within ten months from the accorded filing date.

A fee shall be paid for a search report supplemented with a written opinion (point 2 of the Schedule of Fees), however, if in a case written opinion has been prepared on request, the examination fee is subject to a 31% reduction (point 3 of the Schedule of Fees). Furthermore, in the case of international applications where the Visegrad Patent Institute is appointed as the International Searching Authority, 40% of the search fee shall be refunded.

The following three types of search reports supplemented with a written opinion are available.

I. Search report supplemented with a written opinion based on a Hungarian application

At the request of the applicant, HIPO shall draw up the search report supplemented with a written opinion on the basis of the (Hungarian) description, claims and drawings filed until the last day of the fourth month from the filing date of such request and shall transmit it to the applicant within six months from the filing date of the request.

II. Search report supplemented with a written opinion based on a Hungarian application in an accelerated procedure

At the request of the applicant, the HIPO shall draw up the search report supplemented with a written in an accelerated procedure, if the following conditions are met:

- the patent application meets the requirements for according a date of filing,

- the filing fee and the search fee have been paid,

- the description with the claims, the abstract and the drawings have been filed in Hungarian, and

- at least one claim is suitable for a proper novelty search.

The request for an accelerated procedure may only be filed together with the initial request for the search report supplemented with a written opinion; in such a case the double of the fee for the request for the search report supplemented with a written opinion (according to point I) shall be paid.

HIPO shall draw up the search report supplemented with a written opinion on the basis of the description, claims and drawings filed until the date of filing of the request and shall send it to the applicant within two months from the date of filing of the request.

III. Search report supplemented with a written opinion based on an English application

At the request of the applicant, the HIPO shall draw up the search report supplemented with a written opinion on the basis of an English language application, if the following conditions are met:

- the patent application meets the requirements for according a date of filing,

- the filing fee and the search fee have been paid, and

- at least one claim is suitable for a proper novelty search.

In such a case the quadruple of the fee for the request for the search report supplemented with a written opinion (according to point I) shall be paid.

The HIPO shall draw up the search report supplemented with a written opinion on the basis of the description, claims and drawings filed until the date of filing of the request and shall transmit it to the applicant as soon as possible, but no later than six months from the date of filing of the request. In order to assist applicants, the HIPO – beside the Hungarian version – also sends an English translation of the written opinion to the applicant.

Note: If a request for a search report supplemented with a written opinion is filed with respect to an English application, it is mandatorily regarded as a request for  a search report according to point III, and it is therefore not possible to request an accelerated procedure in these cases.

If the applicant amends the patent application after HIPO has transmitted the search report supplemented with a written opinion, a new request for a search report supplemented with a written opinion may be filed within ten months from the accorded filing date, in any of the above three procedures.

Neither the request for a search report supplemented with a written opinion based on an application in Hungarian, nor the request for the accelerated procedure (based on an application in Hungarian language) shall be deemed to have been filed until the prescribed fees are paid. In the case of a request for a search report supplemented with a written opinion based on an application in English, if the applicant fails to pay the prescribed fee (entirely or partially), the request for a search report supplemented with a written opinion will be rejected.

The search report supplemented with a written opinion made in an early phase of the patent granting procedure helps the applicant develop a well-founded strategy in the priority year, in respect of foreign patenting.

It should be pointed out that the findings of the search report supplemented with a written opinion are not binding in respect of the patentability of the application, since the relevant documents and data may change during the substantive examination, inter alia because of the early timing of the novelty search.

4. Publication
After the expiry of 18 months from the earliest date of priority, HIPO publishes the patent application as an official notification in the Gazette of Patents and Trademarks. At that time, the following data and facts relating to the patent application are given: the name and address of the applicant and the representative, the reference number of the application, the filing date and the date of priority if the latter is different, in the case of international application the number of the international application, the title of the invention, 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 the maintenance fee before publication. The documents of the published patent application that may be inspected are available to the public, HIPO provides any person with their copies upon 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 the patent is granted. Rights conferred by the patent can be enforced only on the basis of definitive protection.

5. Substantive examination
HIPO carries out a substantive examination of the published patent application at the 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 notification on the performance of the novelty search. Failing this, provisional patent protection shall be considered surrendered. In the case of irregularities revealed during the substantive examination of the patent application, HIPO invites the applicant by an order to rectify the irregularities, to submit a statement or to divide the application, according to the nature of the objection. A patent application shall be rejected by HIPO in whole or in part if it does not meet the examined requirements even after the rectification of the irregularities or the submission of the statement. If the applicant fails to reply to the invitation or to divide the application, it shall be considered that he has surrendered the provisional patent protection.

6. Examination fee
The request for substantive examination is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 3 of the Schedule of Fees). The examination fee shall be paid within two months from the filing of the request. If the examination fee is not paid within this time limit, the application shall be considered withdrawn or the provisional patent protection shall be considered surrendered. The examination fee shall be refunded by HIPO on request if the applicant withdraws the application or surrenders the provisional patent protection before the date of the official notification on the novelty search. HIPO may approve an exemption from paying the examination fee if the patentee cannot cover 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, its subject matter extends beyond the content of the application at the date of filing. Taking this limitation into account, 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 5 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 the patent becomes final. The request for division is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 8 of the Schedule of Fees). The fee shall be paid within two months from the filing of the request for division. Failing this, the request for division shall be considered withdrawn.

9. Non-extendable time limits – Restitutio in integrum
The time limits prescribed by the Patent Act (see points 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 6, 7, 9 and 10.1 of this Guide) may not be extended. Failure to comply with them shall involve legal consequences without prior notice. In patent matters – unless excluded by 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 the applicant.

The grounds of failure and the fact that the failure was without fault must be rendered probable in the request, at the same time the omitted action must be fulfilled. Where the failure became known to the party subsequently or the obstacle thereof was removed subsequently, the time limit shall be reckoned from the date on which the failure became known or the obstacle thereof was removed. A request for restitutio in integrum may not be submitted beyond twelve months from the last day of the unobserved time limit. (See point 10 for the filing date of documents submitted by post in patent matters.)

10. Time limits set by HIPO – Extension of time limits – Continuation of the procedure
Where the law does not prescribe any time limits, an extension of the time limit set by the invitation of HIPO can be requested before the expiration thereof. This request is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 6 of the Schedule of Fees) and the request shall not be considered filed until the fee is paid.

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, at the same time the omitted action must be fulfilled. This request is subject to the payment of a fee (see point 7 of the Schedule of Fees) and and the request shall not be considered filed until the fee is paid. If the unobserved time limit has related to the payment of fees, the fee of the request shall be paid in addition to this fee.

In patent matters the filing date of documents submitted by post is the date on which the documents were received by HIPO. Documents received after the time limit set by HIPO (not defined by law) shall be deemed submitted in due time if the documents were posted by registered mail before the expiration of the time limit, unless the documents were received later than two months after the expiration of the time limit.

11. Approval before the grant of a patent – Fee for grant
Before the grant of the patent, HIPO transmits to the applicant the text of the description, the claims and drawings forming the basis of the grant. The applicant may declare within three months if he approves the text transmitted. If the applicant approves it 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 a new description, claims or drawings, HIPO decides whether these shall be taken into account when accepting the final text. The fee for grant (see point 4 of the Schedule of Fees) shall be paid within the time limit of three months prescribed for the statement, failing this, provisional patent protection shall be considered surrendered. HIPO may accord an exemption from payment of the fee for grant if the patentee cannot cover it because of his wages, income and financial standing.

12. Grant of a patent
If the patent application and the invention to which it relates meet all the requirements of the examination, HIPO shall grant a patent for the subject matter of the application. After the grant of the patent, 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 (maintenance fee)
The amount of maintenance fees payable during the term of patent protection and the mode of their payment are contained in point 11 of the Schedule of Fees. The maintenance fees shall be paid to the account of 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.

The maintenance fee for the first year is due on the filing date and the fees for the subsequent years shall be paid in advance on the anniversaries of the filing date. The maintenance fee which becomes due before publication shall be paid within a grace period of six months from the date of publication, the maintenance fee which becomes due before the grant of a patent treated as classified information shall be paid within a grace period of six months from the date on which the decision on the grant comes into effect, and other maintenance fees shall be paid within a grace period of six months from the due date. The maintenance fees shall be paid 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 take care that the payment is settled properly and in due time even without a former notice by HIPO.

In the case of provisional patent protection, the maintenance fees which become due before grant shall be paid within a grace period of six months from the date on which the decision on the grant comes into effect and the maintenance fees for the subsequent years shall be paid within a grace period of six months from 1 July of each year.

If the patent application is divided, the maintenance fees shall be paid for each application resulting from the division, beginning from the first year. If the patent application is divided after publication, the grace period for the payment of maintenance fees for the subsequent applications and for those which became due before the division, shall begin with the date on which the decision on the acceptance of the division comes into effect. The payment of the maintenance fee may be effected within two months before the starting date of the grace period.

HIPO may approve a deferment of the maintenance fees due for the first to the fifth years if the patentee cannot cover them because of his wages, income and financial standing. If deferment is approved the maintenance fees shall be paid together with the maintenance fee for the sixth year.

Maintenance fees paid more than two months before the starting date of the grace period, and in the case of the lapse of patent protection the fees paid in a smaller amount than prescribed, shall be refunded by HIPO on request.

Failure to duly pay the maintenance 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 maintenance fees may be requested within three months following the expiry of the six months grace period. Within that period, the double of the maintenance fee due for the given year shall be paid (see point 12 of the Schedule of Fees). In the case of a refusal of the request for restoration, the fee for the request shall be refunded by HIPO on request.

16. Lapse of provisional patent protection
Provisional patent protection shall lapse with retroactive effect to the date of filing if
1. the patent application is definitely rejected; 
2. the maintenance fees have not been paid by the end of the grace period;
3. the applicant has surrendered the protection.

17. Lapse of definitive patent protection
Definitive patent protection shall lapse:
1. when the period of protection expires, on the day following the date of expiration;
2. if the maintenance fees have not been paid by the end of the grace period, on the day following the due date;
3. if the patentee has surrendered the protection, on the day following receipt of the surrender or at an earlier date specified by the person surrendering the protection;
4. if the patent is revoked, with retroactive effect to the filing date of the application.

18. Electronic administration
In patent matters documents may be submitted electronically exclusively through the use of forms adapted by HIPO for this purpose. The forms are available on the electronic administration surface of HIPO’s website (https://ugyintezes.sztnh.gov.hu/eBej2/step1/case1), they can be downloaded, completed, saved and submitted after identification.

Two-way electronic communication
HIPO ensures two-way communication for its customers. Accordingly, in the case of electronic administration HIPO submits the notifications, decisions electronically to the official electronic address of the customer.

Further information related to electronic administration is available at the following url:
https://ugyintezes.sztnh.gov.hu/eBej2/step1