A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. A patent can be granted for a product or a process but it must be one that:
- New (does not exist anywhere in the world)
- Inventive (not obvious to people who are skilled in the relevant area of art)
- Capable of industrial application (can be made or used on a commercial level)
A patent cannot be granted for an invention that is completely, or the part of an invention that is:
- a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method;
- a scheme, rule or method for doing business, performing a mental act of playing a game; and
- methods for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body.
A patent will also not be granted if to commercialize it in St. Kitts and Nevis would be:
- against public order or morality;
- harmful to human, animal or plant life or health; or
- harmful to the environment
A national application for a patent can be made to Registrar of the IPOSKN. The prescribed forms and fees can be found in the Schedules of the legislation.
An international application can also be filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) that is administered by WIPO. That application can be made by any resident or national of a State that is party to the PCT (St. Kitts and Nevis is a party) and that application has the effect of a national patent application in the PCT Member States that the applicant chooses. This eliminates the need to file individual applications in each and every country in which the applicant requires protection. Find out more information about the PCT here http://www.wipo.int/pct/en/
Only the person who has been granted the patent (known as the ‘patentee’) is allowed to exploit the patent. Exploitation includes activities such as using, making, importing or selling the patented product or a product that is created through the use of a patented process. A person who performs any of those activities without the permission of the patentee is likely to be guilty of patent infringement.
A patent expires twenty (20) years after the filing date of the application for the patent.
Patent rights are territorial i.e. only apply to the country in which the rights have been granted.
A utility model certificate is a grant of exclusive rights the owner or creator of an invention that is new and capable of industrial application. The “inventive step” requirement that is necessary to get a patent is not required. As such utility model certificates expire seven (7) years after the date of filing and shall not be renewed. The law also allows a patent applicant to convert his/her/its application to a utility certificate application or vice versa at any time before the rights have been granted.