How can I apply for a patent?

If you want to patent an invention, process or product, you should submit an application to the Netherlands Patent Office. In Dutch a patent is also known as an 'octrooi'. A patent will protect your invention, product or process for a maximum of 20 years.

Application for a patent

You can submit your application to the Netherlands Patent Office, which is part of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( You can apply in English or Dutch. Applying in English will save you translation costs if you later decide to apply for a European patent or another patent for which the procedure is in English. However, the conclusions must be written in Dutch.

Cost of patent application

Applying for a patent costs money. In the Netherlands there is a one-off application fee: €80 for an online application and €120 for a written application. You also have to pay for a compulsory novelty search. The fee is €794 for an international search and €100 for a national search.

A fee must also be paid every year from the fourth year onwards if you want to renew the patent. This fee increases every year.

Before applying for a patent, you should consider carefully how you are going to recover the costs. The cost of a patent depends mainly on the number of countries for which it is granted and on how long you want it to remain valid.

Patents apply for a maximum of 20 years

A patent protects your invention for up to 20 years. During this period competitors are not allowed to copy the technology you have patented or use it for commercial purposes. This gives you an opportunity to earn back the money you invested in its development. By issuing patents, the government gives businesses an incentive to keep innovating.

European or unitary patent

If you want to apply for a patent in other European countries, you can choose between:

  • A European patent

    In the case of a European patent you can choose the countries where you want to register the patent. You can do this in a total of 38 countries, including the member states of the European Union (EU), Türkiye, Norway and Switzerland.
  • A unitary patent (from late 2017)

    In the case of a unitary patent you only need one patent for the Netherlands and most other EU countries. However, separate patents will still be needed for Spain and Croatia.