The first step en route to a patent is the filing of a patent application. The NL Agency, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, is the patenting body in the Netherlands. The Belgian Intellectual Property Office grants Belgian patents and the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich and The Hague is the body which handles European applications. Arnold + Siedsma has its own offices close to all of these bodies to keep the lines of communication with them as short as possible.
The filing of a patent application creates a solid platform for obtaining a patent on an invention. Once an application has been filed, other parties can no longer take your idea and establish their own patent position. A patent application therefore forms a sound basis for entering into discussions with third parties on collaboration relating to your invention, as the application already indicates what your invention entails and that you hold the rights to it.
If you consider selling your invention at a later date, a patent application offers a firm foundation for entering into negotiations. Interested parties also often prefer it if a patent application is already filed before the negotiations are started. This clearly establishes the extent of the protection obtained and therefore the precise scope of the negotiations.
A patent application provides you with provisional protection for your invention. Full protection is afforded only after a patent has been granted. Only a limited range of legal remedies is available while the patent remains at the application stage. However, in many cases these remedies are enough to deter potential infringers.