Patents of Invention

– Patent Law of January 18, 1994, in force since February 1, 1994, amended on December 23, 1997, June 15, 2000, December 19, 2000, October 30, 2001, June 30, 2005, June 8, 2006, May 10, 2007 and December 23, 2010. New edition of Law on Patents in force since February 3, 2012, amended on October 20, 2015, March 30, 2017, May 4, 2017 and June 29, 2017 (entered into force on May 1, 2018).

Membership in International Conventions

– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since April 30, 1992.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since May 22, 1994.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since July 5, 1994.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since July 19, 1997.
– Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, since May 9, 1998.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since May 31, 2001.
– European Patent Convention, full member since December 1, 2004.
– London Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC, since May 1, 2009.
– Patent Law Treaty, since February 3, 2012.
– Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (deposit of the Agreement on August 24, 2017).
– Agreement on the establishment of a Nordic-Baltic regional division of the Unified Patent Court (Law on the Ratification of the Agreement entered into force on July 1, 2017).

Filing

Applicant: inventor or his successor in title (any natural person or legal entity).

Foreign applicants: natural and legal persons of foreign States not having either a residence or their principal place of business, registered branch office or representative office in Lithuania, in any other state of the European Economic Area or in any of the Contracting States to the European Patent Convention, shall file patent applications at the State Patent Bureau and perform all actions relating to the granting of a patent in the State Patent Bureau, including also representation at the Appeals Division of the State Patent Bureau, through a patent attorney whose name appears on the Register of Patent Attorneys of the Republic of Lithuania. A foreign applicant may act himself before the State Patent Bureau for the following procedures: the filing of an application for the purpose of the filing date; the mere payment of a fee; the issue of a receipt or notification by the State Patent Bureau in respect of any procedure referred to the filing of an application for the purpose of the filing date and the mere payment of a fee.

Naming of inventor(s): inventor(s) must be named in the application; if he does not wish to be mentioned, he shall file an appropriate declaration.

Patentability: patents may be granted for inventions in any field of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application.

Exceptions to protection: discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, design of products, schemes, rules and methods of games, intellectual and economic activities, computer programs, presentations of information, the human body or its element, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, at the various stages of its formation and development (this provision shall not apply to an element isolated from the human body or otherwise produced by means of a technical process, as well as to the sequence or partial sequence of a gene, even if the structure of that element is identical to that of a natural element).

Patents may not be granted for: methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, and diagnostic and prophylactic methods practiced on the human or animal body; this provision shall not apply if an object of invention is equipment or materials, or composition used for such methods; plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for production of plants or animals; this provision is not applied to microbiological processes for the production of plants or animals or the products thereof; inventions for commercial exploitation contrary to public interests, principles of morality and humanity. On the basis of the latter mentioned ground, the following inter alia shall be considered unpatentable: (1) processes for cloning human beings; (2) processes for modifying the germ line genetic identity of human beings; (3) uses of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes; (4) processes for modifying the genetic identity of animals which are likely to cause them suffering without any substantial medical benefit to man or animal; and (5) animals resulting from such processes. Decisions to refuse granting patents may not be adopted merely because the exploitation of such inventions is prohibited by laws or other legal acts. Where the object of invention is a method, patent protection is also granted with respect to a product made by such method.

Novelty: the invention claimed should not have been made available to public by use, publication, exhibition, demonstration in a way obvious to persons skilled in art and also should not have been described in patent application (for Lithuanian or European patent) of a different applicant having an earlier filing date.

Novelty grace period (non-prejudicial disclosure) (for the inventor or his successor in title): six months where the disclosure of information has been made by a person having an interest in making an abuse with respect to inventor or his successor in title to their disadvantage; where an inventor or his successor in title displayed his invention at an official or officially recognized exhibition in accordance with the Convention on International Exhibitions signed at Paris on November 22, 1928.

Priorities: when filing a patent application the applicant may submit a declaration claiming priority, pursuant to Paris Convention, on the basis of one or several national or international applications earlier filed in foreign countries, specifying the filing date and the country of the said application or applications. When prescribed fees are paid, a correction or addition of the declaration claiming priority (until the termination of priority), the restoration of priority rights is available.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. A request for the grant of a patent;
2. A description of the invention;
3. 1 or more claims;
4. Drawings (if any);
5. Abstract (translation into English recommended);
6. A document confirming payment of the fee (must be paid within one month from the filing date);
7. A document on the deposit of biological material in a depositary institution (if applicable);
8. Power of attorney in a simple written form (no legalization), if needed;
9. Priority document (if claimed), to be filed within sixteen months after the priority date. The State Patent Bureau, in some cases, may require the translation of the priority document into Lithuanian;
10. A statement on the authorship of the invention and a document confirming the right to file the application (if the application is filed not by an inventor).

Notes: the translation of the documents must be furnished within three months from the submission date under the request of the State Patent Bureau. The priority document, accompanied by translation, has to be filed within sixteen months from the priority date. If the earlier application is not translated into Lithuanian, the Lithuanian translation of this application shall be submitted within sixteen months from the earliest application or applications date. The translation is not required if the earliest application is in English, German, French or Russian, unless there is a request of the State Patent Bureau; if these requirements are not fulfilled, the declaration claiming the priority shall be regarded as not filed.

Electronic filing: available for certain requests.

Address for correspondence: in the territory of Lithuania.

PCT applications: any international patent application for which the State Patent Bureau is a designated or elected Office and which has been published under Article 21 of the PCT shall enjoy temporary protection which shall become effective from the date on which a translation into Lithuanian of the claims is published by the State Patent Bureau in the Official Bulletin. If the applicant of a PCT application for which the State Patent Bureau is a designated or elected Office wishes to obtain a national patent, he must within the time limit applicable under Articles 22 or 39 of the PCT furnish a translation of the PCT application into Lithuanian and pay the prescribed fee. Time limit for entering national phase under both Chapters I and II: 31 months (national phase to be closed after 31 months from February 3, 2012. Therefore, as from September 4, 2014, applicants desiring protection in Lithuania will only be able to enter the regional phase before the European Patent Office).

Examination

Examination: only formal and not as to substance.

Amendments and corrections are accepted during the term of pendency of the application; no amendment or correction may go beyond what has been disclosed in the application as filed; the application may be amended or corrected within three months at the State Patent Bureau’s request.

Divisions: an applicant, on his own initiative, or who does not observe the requirements of the unity of the invention, may or shall be obligated to divide his patent application into two or more applications (divisional applications). In each separate patent application the essence of the invention must not be disclosed wider than it was disclosed in the initial patent application. The filing date of the initial application shall be established for each separate patent application or, if priority is claimed, the priority date of the initial application. The applicant must divide the patent application into two or more applications within three months from the State Patent Bureau’s notification date. The application may be divided under the applicant’s own initiative until the decision to grant a patent.

Appeals with respect to the filing or priority date, conclusions of examination and refusal to grant a patent can be filed before the Division of Appeals.

Disputes about authorship and ownership: settled by the Vilnius County Court.

Publication: eighteen months after the filing or the priority date (if claimed). The patent application is published in the Official Bulletin and becomes available to public inspection. The application may be published prior to the above term at the applicant’s written request, but not earlier than six months after the filing date. If an invention is kept secret, the inventor shall be paid compensation upon agreement made between the State secret protection institution and the inventor.

Granting

Granting: if the patent application complies with all requirements after the publication of the patent application, the expert, within five days, notifies the applicant in writing that the prescribed fee regarding the grant of a patent has to be paid. The fee must be paid within three months from the date of publication of the application. After the documents confirming that the fee has been paid within three months are received, the State Patent Bureau takes a decision to grant a patent. After the decision to grant a patent the State Patent Bureau publishes patent bibliographic data and claims in the Official Bulletin and issues a patent within three months. 

Opposition: not provided for.

Duration: twenty years from the filing date.

Annuities: are due for the third year prior to the anniversary of the filing date.

Annuity grace period: six months with 50% surcharge.

Assignment: must be in written form (and registered in the State Patent Bureau) to have legal effect.

Licenses: exclusive or non-exclusive; which can then be registered in the Patent Register in order to take effect against third parties.

License of right: if the owner of the patent files a statement with the State Patent Bureau that anyone can use his invention on payment of a suitable compensation on the basis of a non-exclusive license, annuities for him are reduced by 50%. Any person intending to use the license of right may file a statement with the State Patent Bureau and obtain the right of licensee.

Use – compulsory license: the Government of the Republic of Lithuania may adopt a resolution to permit a central or local government institution, natural or legal person, without the consent of the owner of a patent, a patented invention within the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, if: an invention protected by a patent is related to public needs, national security and public health protection, development of economically important sectors; the court determines that a method of exploitation of an invention used by the owner of a patent or licensee is anti-competitive. The owner of a patent must, for the exploitation of the invention, be remunerated fairly, taking into consideration the economic value of the invention. A compulsory license may be granted by the court in the following cases: (1) where a breeder cannot acquire or exploit a plant variety right without infringing the exclusive rights protected by a prior patent, he may apply for a compulsory license for non-exclusive use of the invention protected by the patent in as much as the license is necessary for the exploitation of the plant variety to be protected, subject to payment of an appropriate royalty. Where such a license is granted, the patent owner will be entitled to a cross-license on reasonable terms to use the protected variety; (2) where the owner of a patent concerning a biotechnological invention cannot exploit it without infringing a prior plant variety right, he may apply for a compulsory license for non-exclusive use of the plant variety protected by that right, subject to payment of an appropriate royalty. Where such a license is granted, the holder of the variety right will be entitled to a cross-license on reasonable terms to use the protected invention. The court shall make a decision regarding the amount of royalty and other conditions and extent of a compulsory license. Using, manufacture, importing, exporting, offering, stocking for the market, offering to license, advertising, are considered as validly working the invention. A compulsory license concerning pharmaceutical products (manufacture of pharmaceutical products for export to countries with public health problems) may be granted by the competent authority – the Ministry of Economy.

Modification of Protection after Granting

Right of prior user: the patent has no effect against persons or legal entities which, at the time of application or before the priority date, where priority is claimed, have already used the invention or were making effective or serious preparations for such use.

Oppositions to granted patents: not allowed.

Infringement: legal action against infringement of patent rights can be brought in the Vilnius County Court.

Invalidation: can be obtained on request of an interested party by the court if the patent does not meet the prescription of the law. If the patent is invalidated by the court, it shall be considered null and void as from the filing date of the patent application.

European Patents

Extension of European patents to Lithuania: no longer possible since December 1, 2004. However, the extension system continues to apply to all European and international applications filed prior to December 1, 2004, as well as to all European patents granted in respect of such applications.

Filing on or after December 1, 2004: the European Patent Convention (EPC) came into force and Lithuania became a full member of the European Patent Organization (EPO) from December 1, 2004. Since then, it has no longer been possible to extend European Patent applications and patents to Lithuania. European patent applications filed on or after December 1, 2004 include the designation of the new Contracting State. 

European patent validation requirements: (a) a proprietor of a European patent shall, within three months after the date on which the mention of the grant of the patent is published, supply to the State Patent Bureau a translation of the set of claims of the European patent into the Lithuanian language and pay the prescribed fee for publication of such translation. If, within one month from the date of publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent in the European Patent Bulletin, a proprietor of a European patent submitted the request for unitary effect to the European Patent Office and the latter rejected such request, the term of three months shall be calculated from the date of entry into force of the decision of the European Patent Office regarding the rejection of the request for unitary effect; (b) the minimum time period for paying renewal fees due at validation is two months, in line with the EPC.

Supplementary Protection Certificates

Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC): may be granted to a patent owner or his successor in title for a period not exceeding five years, if legal protection is granted to a medical active ingredient; active substances of a plant protection product (Council Regulation (EEC) No. 469/2009 of May 6, 2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products; Regulation (EC) No. 1610/96 of the European Parliament and of the Council of July 23, 1996 concerning the creation of a supplementary protection certificate for plant protection products).

An application for a certificate must be lodged with the State Patent Bureau before the patent expires, but not later than within six months of the date on which the authorization to place the medicine or the plant protection product on the market was granted, or within six months of the date on which the patent was granted, if the patent was granted later than the authorization.

Duration: the granted certificate shall take effect at the end of the lawful term of the patent for a period equal to the period which elapsed between the date on which the patent application was lodged and the date of the authorization to place a medicine or a plant protection product on the market, reduced by a period of five years, but not exceeding five years from the date on which it takes effect (pediatric extension for medical products available).

Scope of legal protection: legal protection conferred by the certificate shall extend only to the medicine or plant protection product covered by the authorization to place the corresponding medicine or plant protection product on the market, and must not exceed the legal protection conferred by the patent.

Disputes

Infringement: the owner of a patent, the applicant or the successor of their rights and also licensees of exclusive licenses shall have the right to institute court proceedings against a person who has infringed or is infringing their rights and to require (1) the recognition of their rights; (2) the injunction to terminate the infringing acts; (3) the prohibition of acts which may really cause the infringement of rights or damage; (4) the reimbursement of pecuniary damage, including lost income and other expenses; (5) as well as other legal measures foreseen in the Patent Law and other laws.

Burden of proof: if the subject matter of a patent is a process for obtaining a product and the product obtained by the defendant is identical to the product obtained by the patented process, or if there is a reason to believe that the product is produced by infringing the patent, but the plaintiff is unable through reasonable efforts to determine the process actually used, the defendant must prove that the process to obtain the identical product is different from the patented process.