What is a patent
A patent is an exclusive/ private or monopoly right granted by the State for an invention. This invention can be a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something or offer anew technical solution to a problem. In short a patent provides protection for the invention to the owner.
In Namibia patent registration are protected under the Patents Act, Act No. 9 of 1916 and proclamation 17 of 1923. The Industrial Property Act 1 of 2012, in terms of which the registration of patents will be administered, has been enacted and implementation is awaiting the promulgation of the Regulations thereof.
It is an invention of any new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, capable of being used or applied in trade or industry and not known or used by others, and not patented or described in any printed publication in Namibia or any other country. A patent can also be described as a document which gives you the right to stop other people from making, copying, using or selling your invention.
Why is it important to register a patent
It is very important that you apply for a patent before you have made your invention available to the public. If you make your invention public before you apply for a patent the novelty is lost and you risk losing the right to patent it.
A patent has a certain monetary value. It depends on whether there is a demand for this product and whether you can ensure that your product will reach the market. Because of the value of the patent, it is a financial investment.
You can make money from your invention by selling the invention as such, or you can create a valuable market to sell the product.
A patent can last up to 14 years, if it is renewed annually from the third (3) year, Seventh (7) year and tenth (10) year It is important to pay an annual renewal fee to keep it in force. The patent expires after 14 years.
Before you apply for a patent, it is your responsibility to find out if the inventions are new and original.
When do i need a Patent
You need a patent if you have created an invention. An invention is something that is unique, not obvious and capable of being manufactured by an industrial process. If you want to protect your invention from being copied, you have to apply for protection of your patent.
Who can apply for a Patent
The person who created the invention (the inventor) can apply for a patent. The inventor can also nominate a person or a company to apply for the patent protection. You cannot patent an idea if you have seen it somewhere else. It must be original and unique.
Advantages of registering a patent
- Patent registration provides exclusive right to the owner of the invention to exploit it commercially.
- Patents provide a means for technological exchange as each patent document describes a new aspect of technology in clear and specific terms. Patent system is host to more than 70% of scientific literature.
- Patent documents are vital resources for researchers, business people, inventors, academics and anyone else who wants to keep up with new developments in their field.
For invention to be patentable it must meet the following important criteria: novelty, inventive step, practical viability and conformity to natural and statutory laws.
- To be granted a patent the invention must be new. It should not have been produced, described or explained to the public.
- It must be inventive (unique).
- It must not be obvious or self-evident.
- It must be applicable to industrial use (be able to be reproduced).
- It must conform to natural and statutory laws.
Excluded from patentability are the following
- Scientific theories, mathematical methods, discoveries.
- Literally, dramatic, musical, or artistic work or other aesthetic creations.
- Schemes, rules of performing a mental act, computer programme, presentation of information
- Plant varieties or animal hybrids
- Alleged inventions where there is no sufficient information
- Perpetual mobile machines which contradict known laws of thermo dynamics
There are two types of application that an inventor can apply for: conventional application and non-conventional application
- A convention application must comprise of the following;
- The form of application in patent form No. 2
- The complete specification in duplicate, the first leaf of which must be in patent form No.
- Priority documents
- Deed of assignment if needed
- However if the applicant prefers to file a non- conventional application the following documents must be filed;
- Patent form no. 6 and either
- Provisional specification, which must be followed later by full specifications to complete the application or
- Complete specifications
- A deed of assignment
NOTE: It must be noted that the world-wide standard requirement of the patent procedure requires that any patent application for an invention must be made in writing, citing the complete specifications, as this document makes up the most important part of the application, making a full disclosure of the invention and the claims defining the subject matter for which protection is being claimed/sought.
1. Different Methods to Apply for a Patent:
- The applicant can submit the application forms or
- You can ask a patent attorney for assistance.
2. Patent Application Forms:
Application forms are obtainable from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Patent Office
3. Where To Submit The Application Forms:
Applications must be filed at the Ministry of Trade and Industry Namibia, Patent Office, which is a unit of the Patents, Trade Marks, Industrial Designs, Companies and Close Corporation office, in Windhoek and also at all the Regional offices in Namibia. The application may be:
- Brought by hand to the Namibian Patent Office, 2nd Floor, Block B, Brendan Simbwaye square, corner of Goethe and Uhland street, Windhoek or
- Alternatively, it may be posted to The Registrar of Patents, P O Box 21214, Windhoek.
4. Responsibilities Of The Applicant:
- Do a search in the Patent Office registers to ensure you are not infringing any existing patents.
- A provisional or complete specification must be prepared by the applicant him/herself or the agent on behalf of the applicant and submitted to the Patent Office.
- File a provisional specification.
You can do this without the help of an attorney, but you must make sure to provide a very clear, detailed description of your invention in the application. You need the following application forms for a provisional patent: A patent application form No.1 and No.2; revenue stamps must be attached to the form P1.
- File a complete specification
For this, you will need the help of a patent attorney. The specification must be signed by a patent attorney.
A. The following documents need to be submitted. (Forms)
A detailed description of the invention – a description in detail to enable a person ordinarily skilled in the inventions art to replicate the technology only by studying the description.
- Drawings – where applicable.
- Claims – The claims identify specifically the aspect of the described idea in which the applicant is claiming, so to say, rights of the exclusive use for a limited period of any patent sought thereof.
- Abstract -
- Deed of Assignment – if the applicant differs from the inventor.
- A Power of Attorney – if an agent acts on behalf of the applicant
- A Priority document – a copy of the patent application originally filed in another country.
B. Filing Fees Payable On Patent Documents:
- Registration fee N$12.00 (Patent Form No.1 and 3 and 9)
- Renewal fee N$4.00 (Patent Form No. 11)
C. Patent Treaty Corporation (PCT) Patent
The following documents to be submitted by the client:
- A copy of the PCT Examination Report;
- English Translation of the PCT Examination Report;
- PCT Pamphlet (English translation)
5. Responsibility of The Patent Office:
- Investigate the existing patents in Namibia before acceptance.
- Checking of application documents and the registration thereof.
- Open a Namibian Patent File.
- Numbering of the application – Allocate a registration number to the new patent
- Send out a list of outstanding documents, if any.
- Typing of all registration related documents.
- Grant a patent if all the required documents has been submitted. – Typing and sealing of the Letters Patent.
- Filing of all patents documents.
- Daily updating (any amendments) and keeping of patent registers, including issuing of renewal certificates for a period of 3rd, 7th and 10th respectively.
- PCT Patents follows the same route as above except that it requires that a PCT patent should first be granted before it enters the national phase.
What is an industrial design?
An industrial design or simply referred to as a design; is the appearance of an article produced by any industrial process or manually. It is the shape and decorative ornaments of a finished article to the eye that constitutes an industrial design.
In Namibia industrial designs are administered under the Patents, Designs and Trademarks Act No. 9 of 1916 and proclamation 17 of 1923.
The Industrial Property Act 1 of 2012, in terms of which registration of industrial designs will be administered, has been enacted and implementation is awaiting the promulgation of the Regulations thereof.
Advantages of registering a design
- Registration gives the owner the sole/ private rights to exploit the design commercially.
- Anyone who makes any product bearing a shape similar to a registered design can be sued for infringement..
- If the owner has lost interest in the design or has no means to produce products bearing the design he/she may decide to assign the design to others through licensing or contractual arrangements.
How to protect your design abroad
You may want to register your design abroad to obtain protection in other territories. The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization provides a centralized registration system where you can e-file up to 100 designs and target over 66 territories in one single application which you could use to claim priority on in further filings.Namibia is a Member of the 1999 (Geneva ) Act of the Hague Agreement. Any individual or business in Namibia can file an international application either with BIPA or directly with WIPO under the Hague System. For more information on filing an international application, geographical coverage and fees, and to get started, please go to www.wipo.int/hague/en .