Patents of Invention
– Law No. 20-00 of May 8, 2000 on Industrial Property.
– Ruling No. 599-01, dated June 1, 2001, modifying Law No. 20-00.
– Ruling No. 180-03, dated March 3, 2003, modifying Ruling No. 599-01.
– Law No. 424-06, establishing the Free Trade Treaty among the Dominican Republic, Central America and the United States of America (DR-CAFTA).
Membership in International Conventions
– Paris Convention, Act of The Hague (1925), since April 6, 1951.
– Pan-American Convention (Buenos Aires 1910 and Washington 1929).
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since March 9, 1995.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since June 27, 2000.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since May 28, 2007.
– Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, since July 3, 2007.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since August 30, 2009.
Applicant: inventor or his assignee, deed of assignment is required.
Foreigners and nationals not living in the country: same protection as for nationals, but if domiciled abroad, must appoint an attorney.
Naming of inventor(s): necessary.
Notion of the invention: an invention is understood to be any idea, creation of human intellect, capable of being applied in industry, which meets the conditions of patentability set forth in the law. An invention may refer to a product or to a procedure.
Novelty (notion): an invention is novel when it does not previously exist in the state of the art.
Novelty grace period: one year of first disclosure.
Exceptions to protection (unpatentable inventions): those which do not fall within the definition of Article 1 of the Law are not considered to be inventions and thus are excluded from protection by patents of invention. The following, in particular, are not considered inventions: discoveries that consist of making known something which already exists in nature, scientific theories and mathematical methods; exclusive aesthetic creations; economic or business plans, principles or methods, and those referring to purely mental or industrial activities or to games; presentations of information; computer software; therapeutic or surgical methods for human or animal treatment, as well as diagnostic methods; all kinds of living matter and substances preexisting in nature; the juxtaposition of known inventions or mixtures of known products, variation in their form, dimensions or materials, unless said combination or fusion is such that it does not allow its elements to function separately or that the characteristic qualities or functions of the same are modified so as to obtain an industrial result not obvious to a technician in the field; already patented products or procedures, due to their having been given a use different from that covered in the original patent.
Kinds of protection: patents of invention, utility models and industrial designs.
Confirmation patents: not applicable.
Secret patents: not applicable.
Priorities: one or multiple priorities are accepted according to the Paris Convention (Act of The Hague).
Territory covered: Dominican Republic.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney, duly notarized and legalized by a Dominican Consulate or by Apostille;
2. Specification in Spanish, in electronic format;
3. Drawings (if any) in ink and made to a metric scale, in electronic format;
4. Assignment document of the inventor to the applicant, if applicable, also duly notarized and legalized by a Dominican Consulate or by Apostille;
5. Certified copy(ies) of the application if applied for in other countries;
6. Priority document when claiming this protection.
Term for filing missing documents: two months as of the formal examination.
Electronic filing: not available.
Electronic signatures: are not accepted (only wet signatures). Further, scanned copies of signed documents are not accepted, originals are mandatory.
PCT applications: requirements are the same as for national applications, except assignment documents from the inventors or priority documents. Time limit for entering national phase under both Chapters I and II: 30 months. Grace period of two months available for late national phase entry.
Amendment of application: possible.
Alterations: not provided for.
Interference: not permitted.
Process claims: accepted.
Rights of prior user: provided for in Art. 31.
Disputes about ownership and novelty: must also be brought in civil suits before the courts of first instance.
Extent of examination: the application will be examined in both its form and its merits by the authorities.
Application kept secret: not provided for.
Publication: in the Boletín Informativo.
Opposition to application filed: possible. Oppositions to pending patents should be made by observations within sixty days from publication of the application.
Provisional registration: not possible.
Registration: if examination shows that an application complies with all the requirements, the Letters Patent will be issued as proof of registration.
Delivery of document: an original copy of the Letters Patent or certificate of registration will be given to the applicant with the specification and drawings attached.
Beginning of protection: starting from the date of the filing of the application.
Duration: twenty years for patents, fifteen years for utility models and five years for industrial designs (see below IV. “Industrial Designs – 5. Granting“).
Annuities: are payable for patents before the beginning of the corresponding yearly period. The first annual fee shall be paid before the beginning of the third year, counted from the date of the patent application, i.e. when the patent has its second anniversary of its application date. Two or more annual fees may be paid in advance. There is a grace period of six months to pay the said annuities. For PCT applications the annuities are calculated from the international filing date. Two maintenance fees are payable for utility models at the fifth and tenth years. There is a grace period of six months to pay the maintenance fees.
Marking of patented goods: not compulsory.
Amendment of issued patents: changes in the text of the patent title shall not be permitted, except to correct material errors or errors of form.
Revocation: at the request of any interested person or any competent authority, the National Office of Industrial Property can revoke a patent when the rights conferred by the patent are abused with regard to anti-competitive practices or abuse of a dominant market position in such a way that the national economy is unduly affected.
Assignment: must be recorded and published in the Dominican Republic to be valid.
License for exploitation: contractual licenses may be granted and compulsory licenses may be issued.
Working: not provided for by the Law.
Modification of Protection after Registration
Opposition to granted patents: only before the courts in a civil suit.
Compulsory licenses: provided for.
Expropriation: not provided for.
Nullification: provided for by the Law in Article 34.
Validation of invalidated patents: not provided for.
Infringement: any offense committed against the rights of a patentee, such as the manufacturing of products protected by a patent of invention; the offer for sale or to put into circulation products protected by an issued patent, knowing that they were manufactured or made without the consent of the right holder for the patent or without the respective license; the use of patented processes without the consent of the right holder of the patent or without the respective license; the offer for sale, use, or import of warehouse products which are the direct result of the utilization of patented processes, knowing that they were manufactured without the consent of the right holder of the patent or the person who has a license for exploitation; he who not being the right holder of a patent, use in its products or in its advertising denominations that might cause the public to err as to their existence; hiding information or supplying false information to the general National Office of Industrial Property with the purpose of obtaining a patent that does not fulfill the requirements for patentability.
Penalties: whoever intentionally commits the offenses to patentee rights shall incur correctional imprisonment for three months to two years and a fine of RD$ 50,000 to RD$ 100,000 or both penalties.
In the Dominican Republic, the new Industrial Property Law became to be one of the most modern laws of the continent. The judicial system is being trained on this matter and all kinds of sanctions as well as implementations of the new law requirements are being accomplished. As a Convention (of Paris) country, the provisions of the same concerning these matters are duly enforced in the Dominican Republic.