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New Patent Act Introduces Changes to Administration and Patent Holders’ Rights

December 4, 2023

Parliament has introduced a new Patent Act 2023 and repealed the Patent Act 2022 aimed at better delineating the rights and responsibilities of patent holders.

Notable changes are outlined below:

Shift of administrative power: The shift of administrative power from the Office of the Registrar the Director General of the Department of Patents, Industrial Designs, and Trademarks is significant. This centralization could streamline decision-making processes.

Court structure: The act establishes a clear court structure, with district courts handling patent cases and the provision for appeals to the High Court Division, providing a systematic approach to handling legal matters related to patents.

Validity period and renewal: The act removes the obligation to apply for renewal five years before the expiry date, offering more flexibility to patent holders. Allowing renewal applications any time before the expiry of the validity period is a practical adjustment.

Annual fee payment: The act sets a three-month fixed period for the annual fee payment with no extension possibilities, adding a sense of urgency for patent holders to fulfill their financial obligations within the stipulated time.

Revocation provisions: The act includes provisions for revocation, including for the public interest, which is a balanced approach, allowing for the protection of public welfare while maintaining the integrity of patent rights.

Compulsory license: The act grants the government the authority to issue a compulsory license in a state of emergency or for its own purposes. This reflects a balance between protecting intellectual property and responding to critical situations.

Reliefs for patent holders: The act includes a comprehensive listing of various reliefs that the district court may grant to patent holders against infringement, ensuring that patent holders have adequate legal recourse to protect their rights.

Director General’s powers: The act grants certain powers to the Director General similar to those of civil courts, thus enhancing the efficiency of the patent system.

The new Patent Act 2023 addresses various aspects of patent law, from administrative processes to legal frameworks. The balance between protecting intellectual property and addressing public interest concerns seems well-crafted. The effectiveness of these changes will, of course, be seen in their implementation and how they are interpreted and applied in practice.