Patent Law in Pakistan
What is Patent Law in Pakistan?
A patent is a type of intellectual property law that relates to new inventions. The traditional patent protects tangible inventions, such as circuit boards, car engines, heating coils, or zippers. Since the invention of patents, however, a broader range of inventions has been protected, including coding algorithms, business practices, and genetically modified organisms. In Pakistan, under the Patents Ordinance, 2000, an invention can only be patented if it is new, inventive, and has industrial application. Moreover, patents cannot be granted for inventions whose publication or exploitation would be contrary to public order or morality. Additionally, a patent may not be granted for animals or plants that are not microorganisms or basically biological processes, but this prohibition shall not apply to microbiological processes or products thereof; and to diagnose therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals.
There are four kinds of patents granted under the Patents Ordinance of 2000:
- A patent that is dated as of the official date of the application.
- Patents on chemical products intended for use in agriculture or medicine.
- Patents claiming “priority” are dated as of the date of the original patent application filed first in a country that is a member of the WTO.
- Patents of addition may be granted to improve or modify inventions for which a patent already exists.
Patent eligibility is a hotly debated topic, and courts often struggle to determine what constitutes a new, non-obvious invention. A patent grants the inventors the exclusive right to sell their invention for 20 years after it is granted. Inventors often license their inventions to other companies in exchange for a fee.
Step-by-Step procedure of Patent Registration in Pakistan
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Step 1: Write a Patent specification
Preparing a patent specification is the first step in filing a patent application, in which you need to clearly and concisely state the terms by which you and others will be bound. No matter if the patent specification is provisional or complete, it must begin with a title and end with the signature and date of the inventor (you) or your patent agent.
The format and content of any official document, particularly those that deal with legality, are crucial. You must use carefully chosen language, explain the titles and definitions, and list the details in an orderly manner. Despite their simplicity, the following instructions are very crucial to your application:
- Language: English [compulsory]
- Line spacing: 1.5
- Page size: A4
- Page margins: minimum 2 cm from the top, bottom, and right side.
- Only use one side of the sheet.
Structure or Content:
You must include the following information in your patent specification:
- Title of the invention: Subject matter of the invention.
- Abstract: Describe all the important technical aspects of your invention (2 pages).
- Field of the invention: What is your invention’s field of technology?
- Background of the invention: What motivates the invention, and what is its basis?
- Detailed Description: Explain in detail the specific components, systems, methods, etc. that allow your invention to work so that a person skilled in the art can understand and replicate it.
- Claims: Defining legal statements in the form of a single sentence that clearly states the invention.
- Drawings: Include drawings when they are necessary to understand the subject matter to be patented.
Provisional Patent Specification:
You can establish a filing date for an in-progress invention by filing a provisional specification first, and then filing your complete specification within 12 months after filing the provisional specification. As a provisional specification is not examined by the Patent Office, you can skip claims and drawings and add them later in your complete specification.
Step 2: Filling the form
You must fill out the following forms for filing your patent application.
- Fill out the ‘Form P-1’ (for non-conventional applications) or the ‘Form P-2’ (for conventional applications) to initiate a patent request. It is necessary to submit two copies of this form along with two copies of the Patent Specifications.
- Form P-1A should be filled out for non-conventional applications, and Form P-2A should be filled out for convention applications for patents if the true and first inventor is not filing the application.
- Specifications must be filled out on ‘Form P-3A’ and provisional specifications on ‘Form P-3’. Two copies of each form must be submitted.
- Students and employees of universities, research institutes, and organizations should also submit one copy of a letter of support.
- Additionally, two copies of Form P-28 for authorizing the patent attorney/agent shall be enclosed with Form P1 or P2.
- Whenever a pending specification / accepted specification needs to be amended, Form P-16 must be completed.
Step 3: Pay the filing fees
IPO Pakistan requires payment in the form of a payment order or demand draft from a scheduled bank in favor of the Director-General. The fee is not refundable.
The following charges are applicable:
- In the case of the complete specification, it’s PKR. 6750/-
- In the case of provisional specification, it’s PKR. 2025/-.
- For each additional page of specification beyond 40 pages, PKR. 90/-
- For each additional claim beyond 20 claims, PKR. 225/–
- For amendment of pending specification / accepted specification, fees are PKR. 2250/-
- The fee for a request for sealing the patent is PKR. 6750/–
Patent Renewal and Restoration
Upon sealing a patent, the grantee must renew the patent every year thereafter (in respect of 5th year onwards until 20th year) or the Patent Office has the right to forfeit/cancel the patent or do what it deems appropriate in that case.
To renew a patent, the grantee must fill out and submit Form P-12 (Application for Renewal) before the expiration of the 4th year. Patent renewal costs increase with time.
Patent Office withholds the patentee’s patent for a period of time if they fail to pay the renewal fee, before invalidating it permanently. When this occurs, a patentee can request restoration of the patent by completing Form P-13 (Application for Restoration) before the patent is invalidated.
When a patent has been in the public domain for 20 years, its research is accessible to everyone for improvement, however, a new patent cannot be issued for some research work that has already expired.
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