What is a patent?

A patent is the title given to protect an invention. This title gives the owner the exclusive rights to use, make, or sell the invention for a limited period of time. An invention is a product or a process which solves a specific problem in the field of technology.

The grant of a patent provides a reward for the creator of an invention. He can exploit the invention commercially or grant licence to others to do so. It also encourages individuals and companies to continue developing new technology.

Conditions for grant of a patent as provided for in the Patent Act, No. 8 of 1999 and the Patent Regulations S.O.R. No. 43 of 2008

  1. The invention must be new. This means that the invention must not have been disclosed to the public anywhere in the world by oral or written description, by use, or in any other way; 
  2. It must involve an inventive step. This is it must be a sufficient advancement to the prior invention.  It must not be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the filed concerned;
  3. It must be capable of industrial application. It is capable of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry including agriculture, fisheries, handcraft and services;
  4. An invention is not patentable if it is:
    1. A discovery (things that exist in nature which are discovered).
    2. A scientific theory or mathematical method.
    3. Method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body.

How to apply for a grant of a patent

Any person may make an application for a patent alone or jointly with another by filing with the Companies and Intellectual Property Office:

  1. Petition for Patent (Form 1). The petition shall contain a request for the invention, the title of invention, names of applicant(s) statement of ownership, inventors name and address, agent if any;
  2. Application for Petition (Form 2). The application must contain abstract, description of the invention, drawings where required, one or more claims;
  3. Power of Attorney for an applicant whose residence is outside of Dominica or for a local applicant who is applying through an attorney;
  4. Fee for filing an application for a patent EC$500.00
  5. Fee for grant of a patent EC$375.00 and
  6. Publication fee.

Grant of Patent

Where the requirement of the Act has been satisfied the Registrar will publish in the Journal a notice of the grant and issue a certificate of the grant of the patent to the applicant. The grant takes effect on its publication date.

Duration of Patent

A patent expires 20 years after the filing date of the application.  

Maintaining a Patent

In order to maintain a patent or patent application, the owner of a patent or the applicant must pay in advance to the Registrar for each year starting one year after the filing date of the application for the grant of the patent, the prescribed annual fee as seen in on the fees page.

A patent shall lapse or a patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn if the annual fee is not paid.

For more general information on patents you may visit the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website at http://www.wipo.net/patents/en/.