Patents of Invention

– Patent Acts, 2001 (Cap. 314), in force since August 6, 2001, amended by Act No. 2 of 2006.
– The Patents Regulations, 1984 (No. 84 of April 17, 1984), in force since May 14, 1984.

Membership in International Conventions

– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since November 30, 1966.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since October 5, 1979.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since March 12, 1985.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since March 12, 1985.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since January 1, 1995.


Applicant(s): the inventor(s) or an assignee.

Foreign applicants: must be represented by any attorney-at-law licensed and registered with the Office.

Naming of the inventor(s): compulsory.

Patentability conditions: an invention must be new, express an inventive advance and be industrially applicable.

Novelty: worldwide. Disclosure by the applicant within one year preceding the date of application is not a bar to novelty.

Novelty grace period: twelve months before filing/priority date if the disclosure was the result of acts by the applicant or by his predecessor in title or the result of an abuse by a third party with regard to the applicant or his predecessor in title.

Exceptions to protection: discoveries; scientific theories and mathematical methods; games, business schemes and mental acts; surgical or therapeutic treatments; diagnostic methods; biological processes; immoral or environmentally prejudicial inventions. Products for use in surgical or therapeutic treatments and diagnostic methods are patentable.

Priority: may be claimed according to the Paris Convention.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney (no notarization or legalization required);
2. Specification in English;
3. Formal drawings (if any);
4. Assignment, if the inventor is not the applicant;
5. List of countries where parallel applications have been filed;
6. Copies of any communication, patent, rejecting decision, search, received by the applicant from parallel applications;
7. Priority document, if any (only on request of the Industrial Property Office).

Electronic filing: not available.

Electronic signatures: are accepted, except for powers of attorney, which require wet signatures.

PCT applications: time limit for entering the national phase under both chapters I and II: 30 months.


Examination: after a formal examination, an examination as to substance must be carried out by the Director.

Accelerated examination: not available.

Amendments: allowed if the amendment does not alter the disclosure contained in the prior application.

Divisions: no divisional application may be filed after a patent has been granted in respect of the immediately preceding application upon which the divisional application is based.


Publication: a notice of the grant is published in the Gazette.

Beginning of protection: filing date.

Delivery of document: the certificate of registration is issued in paper format only.

Duration: twenty years from the filing date.

Annuities: are due beginning with the second year after the filing date.

Annuity grace period: six months with a surcharge of U.S.$ 50.

Licensing: possible; must be registered.

Compulsory licenses: possible if the invention is not sufficiently used. Importing is considered as “use”.

Appeals: possible to the High Court.

Modification of Protection after Registration

Opposition: not provided for but proceedings may be brought in the High Court for infringement of a patent or to have a patent declared invalid.

Invalidation: proceedings may be instituted in the High Court by any interested person.

Infringement and penalties: proceedings may be brought in the High Court for injunction; damages; delivery up or destruction of products or articles; account of profits; or declaration of validity and infringement. The Act provides for criminal sanctions for infringement with penalties of U.S.$ 25,000 and/or imprisonment of two years; and further fines of U.S.$ 1,000 per day for continuing offenses. The limitation period is five years from the date of commission of the offense.