“Intellectual Property” refers to the ideas, concepts and material items that a person or a group of people come up with, create or define, and claim the exclusive rights for those ideas/materials and their usage for a limited period of time that is specified by the legal regulations of the country where they are claimed.
Intellectual Property has a number of forms and types, such as Copyright claims, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Patents, etc. Different countries have defined a set of standard procedures through which an IP is claimed and registered.
Patent-related Procedures and Costs in Pakistan
Pakistan’s Patents Office is a part of Intellectual Property Organization, Pakistan (IPO) under Cabinet Division. Significant objectives of Patents Office are: grant the patents to new and novel inventions, represent the government internationally regarding IP-related matters, render know-how and pedagogical services to inventors, and to foster the industrial development in Pakistan.
Any invention that meets the standards set by Patent Office is eligible to apply for Patent registration. The criteria that describe the patent-ability of an invention are:
- The invention is new.
- It involves an inventive step.
- It is capable of industrial application.
- It should not be contrary to law or morality.
The procedure to register a patent, as detailed by Patents Office, Pakistan is as follows:
- Request for a patent is initiated by filling out ‘Form P-1’ (Application for Patent; download links for all forms are available at the end of the article) or ‘Form P-2’ (Convention Application for Patent), along with the Specifications of the invention.
- The Specifications described in the Application form can be either complete or provisional (i.e. subject to change or need further ironing out).
- Specifications of the patent can be detailed on extra sheets (if required), and include steps, processes, drawings and claims.
- Complete specifications are filled out on ‘Form P-3A’ (Application for Complete Specification). Provisional specifications have to be filled out using ‘Form P-3’ (Application for provisional specification).
- Forms P-1A, P-1B or P-1C have to be provided with ‘Form P-3A’ if the original application form is Form P-1. On the other hand, if the original application form is P-2, then the Specifications Form P-3A must accompany Forms P-2A, P-2B or P-2C.
- If a Provisional specification is provided with the application, complete specification must also be provided following the original submission before moving on to the next step.
- The Application is examined and evaluated by the competent authority at Patent Office.
- Applicant will have to defend their registration application if there is any opposition regarding the patent from some other party that lays claim to the same patent, wholly or partially.
- Parties that want to oppose a registered/accepted/withheld/applied for patent can do so by filling out ‘Form P-7’.
- In case no objection is raised during evaluation or the legal matters are settled with the opposition, the patent is sealed once the applicant(s) duly fill and submit ‘Form P-10’ (Request for Sealing), and the applicant is granted the rights for it for 20 years (subject to renewal).
Patent Renewal and Restoration
After a patent is sealed by IPO, grantee must re-new the patent every year following the expiration of 4th year (in respect of 5th year onwards until 20th year) or the Patents Office has the right to forfeit/cancel the patent or do whatever it deems appropriate for the case accordingly.
In order to renew the patent, grantee has to fill and submit ‘Form P-12’ (Application for Renewal) before the expiration of 4th year and onwards. The cost of patent renewal increases with the time since the patent was obtained.
If the patentee fails to pay the renewal fee, Patent Office withholds their patent for a period of time before it is invalidated permanently. Patentee can obtain ‘Form P-13’ (Application for Restoration) before invalidation in such case to request the restoration of patent.
After 20 years, a patent enters public domain and its research is available for everyone to improve upon, but no new patent can be granted for some research work based on a patent that has already expired.
Costs for Patent-related Procedures
A number of different costs are involved in the process of registering, renewing or modifying a patent. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that all the costs are paid in full at the time of submission of accompanying application form.
Where to Seek Assistance for Patent-related Issues
Contact persons at Patents Office, Pakistan can be reached at their designated phone numbers and e-mail addresses. A list of such contact persons can be found on IPO’s website here.
Generally, law firms and consultants can also be hired to provide assistance in patent-related procedures.
When making an application for registration of a patent agent, applicant has to fill ‘Form PTA-1’.
Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) can also assist scientific researchers from Pakistan in ascertaining the patentability of their ideas alongside financial, scientific and legal assistance. This service is available for researchers not only at Pakistani universities but also at local R&D institutes. Interested individuals can register at HEC’s website and upload their research findings for HEC experts to evaluate their potential for a patent. If the proposal is found reasonable and novel enough, HEC will approve it for further processing. For the proposals that make it to the final stage will be eligible for financial grant that covers the filing fee for patent. Other related fees will have to be paid by patentee or their institute.
Complete information regarding this program can be found at official HEC website here.
- All downloadable application forms for patent-related matters and the fee related to them can be found here.
- Information and answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs) regarding Patents and their significance/procedures in Pakistan can be found here.
- List of patents granted by Patents Office since 2005 can be accessed here.
The information provided in this article has been verified from official sources at the time of publication, and is being presented for the information of our readers on as-is basis. TechJuice.pk cannot be held responsible if some facts and figures change at a later point in time or have been changed without prior notice/updates.