As you may be aware, Malta acceded to the PCT and the European Patent Convention with effect from 1 March 2007. From that date, it has been possible to validate granted European (EP) patents in Malta by filing a validation application (supported by a Power of Attorney and an English-language version of the specification) within 3 months from the date of publication of grant of the patent in the European Patent Bulletin. 

Earlier today, the Maltese Comptroller issued a new practice notice which has the effect of reversing her previous standpoint that an EP patent drawn in the English language and designating Malta requires such validation. Therefore, this mandatory requirement only remains with regard to EP patents published in the French or German languages and which designate Malta. It is no longer a requirement to file a validation application in respect of EP patents published in the English language and designating Malta.

Of course, with regard to all EP patents designating Malta, it is still a requirement to pay annuities in Malta in order to maintain the Maltese designation during the full term of the patent.

With regard to any EP patent which was published in the English language, which designated Malta, and for which in the past the renewal fees were not paid in the bona fide belief that validation was required ad validatem and that the 3 month period from publication of grant of the EP patent had expired, so rendering such an annuity payment futile, the Comptroller has verbally indicated that any such case would be examined on its merits and - if persuasive grounds are provided - the Maltese designation of the EP patent in question may be restored under such conditions as the Comptroller would adopt. Therefore, it appears that there exists a window of opportunity within which we may pay 'backdated' renewals in such cases.

Finally, we reiterate that, for EP patents published in the French or German languages and which designate Malta, it is still a requirement to validate such patents by filing an English translation of the specification and a Power of Attorney.

Should you have any questions or require any further assistance in the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.