Patents and Utility Models

1.1 What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted by the government for an invention, which is either a product or process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. The exclusive rights help inventors to prevent others from taking advantage of their ideas/inventions.

A patent provides protection for 20 years to an inventor for a new product or process in return for the disclosure of their invention. A utility model is easier to get than a patent and its protection is 10 years.

1.2 Requirements for an invention to be patented

i. Novel/new –  The  invention  should  not  be  described  in  any  publication published anywhere in the world.

ii. Inventive – The new product or process should not be obvious to a skilled person.

iii. Industrial applicable – Should be useful.

iv. Patentable subject matter– Should be acceptable to be patented under the law; discoveries, theories, business methods are examples of things that are

not patentable.

Procedure for Registration

1.3 Steps to file a patent application

Before filing for a patent application, it’s advisable for an applicant to conduct a basic search

using any search engine like Google to determine if his/her invention is new.

1Applicant submits application for a patent containing the following:
• Request letter seeking patent protection
• Completed patent application form
• Patent specification– document describing the invention should include: title, abstract, description, claims and drawings if any. Claims define what shall be protected.
• Receipt of payment of application fees
• Power of attorney for someone not residing or whose business is not in
2URSB office receives documents and if the filing requirements have been satisfied, the application is assigned a filing dateand a patent application number.
3Publication of patent application 18 months from the filing date

Click here to download the patent application form 2.

Note: Assessment for fees can be done at URSB offices or self-assessment at URA web portal

1.4 Examination of a patent application

An application found to be in order is subjected to search and examination as to substance. Here basically a Patent Examiner or other competent authority examines the patent application to determine if the claimed invention fulfills all requirements for patentability.

1Applicant submits request for examination of application, this should be within three years from the filing date.
2Application is examined by an Examiner or other competent authority.
3Examiner or other competent authority compiles an examination report, a copy

1.5 Grant and publication of a patent

1Applicant notified on grant/refusal of a patent
2Upon notification of grant of patent, applicant shall pay grant fees
3Issuance of certificate of grant of a patent
4A granted patent shall as soon as practicable be published in the gazette.

Note:An  application  which  has  not  satisfied  the  requirements of  patentability,  the application is rejected or the applicant is advised to amend the claims accordingly.

For  the  patent  to  remain  in  force, the  patent  holder  is  required  to  pay  annual maintenance fees downloadable here The Industrial Property Fees, 2017.