International Briefing (MIP) Sept 2015: Patenting In Greenland And The Faroe Islands

Denmark is a country well-known for sustainability, renewable energy, especially wind energy, Lego and Insulin. What may be less known is that Denmark has a number of self-governing areas including Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Greenland and the Faroe Islands have been parts of the Danish Kingdom since the 18th century, but now have an extensive type of self-government. The Faroe Islands’ home rule was established in 1948 and Greenland’s home rule was established in 1979, and both have assumed legislative and administrative responsibility in a substantial number of fields, including IP rights.

Thus, even though Denmark has been a member of the European Patent Organisation since 1990 and ratified Chapter II of the PCT in 1988, the same does not apply for Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Neither Greenland nor the Faroe Islands are signatories of the European Patent Convention, despite Denmark being a member. This has the implication that a European patent validated in Denmark has coverage of only Denmark, and the protection is not extended to the territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Until recently, the Faroe Islands had not even ratified Chapter II of the PCT. However, the patent law in the Faroe Islands has been updated, and as of May 2 2015, it is no longer necessary to nationalise at 20 months to ensure that a Danish patent covers the Faroe Islands.

What must still be observed is that to obtain coverage in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, a PCT application must be nationalised in Denmark at 31 months. The application may be filed and prosecuted in English, and a Danish translation of only the allowed claims is to be provided at the time of grant of the patent. By filing nationally in Denmark at 31 months, not only the southernmost part of Denmark is covered by the patent, but now also the territories of both Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

The article was first published in Managing IP on 24 September 2015.