This Article examines the protection of Patents in Cyprus.
What is a patent?
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.
Ownership of Patents
The right excludes all other competitors from using the same patent. Patents are therefore granted to natural persons and not to companies. A patent is subject to all other existing patents which arose prior to its registration, and are ruled by a ‘first come first serve’ basis: first to file the patent application gets the patent right.
Patents can be granted by one of three ways in Cyprus. Firstly, by the Cypriot government itself; secondly, the European Union; or thirdly, by an internationally recognised institution. These are fleshed out below.
Cypriot law and registration procedures
In Cyprus, the Patents Law of 1998, as amended, is the main source of patency law on the island. For a valid Certificate of Patent, national laws require that an invention must be
(1) novel (existing nowhere else);
(2) in its inventive step; and
(3) it must have the potential to be used for industrial purposes.
The procedure to obtain a patent from the Patent Registrar (the “Registrar“) in Cyprus is initiated by a formal request for the patent to be granted highlighting the title and description of the invention; accompanied by legal claims regarding the specific invention and any drawings together with an abstract of the invention of no more than 150 words.
The Registrar then forwards the application to the European Patent Organization for review. Once approval is communicated to the applicant, the applicant must then prepare and submit a search report. A search report is essentially a list of existing and pending patents that are similar to the proposed patent. This will provide information as to the novelty of the patent.
Once the search report is received, the Registrar publishes it together with the issued Patent Certificate of Registration in the Official Gazette of Cyprus.
European and International law patents
On 01 April 1998 Cyprus became a Member State of the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Convention on the Grant of European Patents (EPC).
EU patent applications are administered by the European Patent Office (EPO) via a free online filing system. EPO grants patents within the economic bloc as a whole, or countries specified by the applicant. The efficiency of EPOs online system makes it the preferred method to directly register patents in Cyprus.
Under international law, Cyprus is a signatory of the Patent Cooperation Treaty of 1970 (PCT), which is the instrument through which patent protection is granted. Patents are normally disclosed to the global community about 18 months after the patent application has been submitted to the international body and once completed the patent is enforceable against all signatories. The entire process takes about two and a half years.
Normally, infringements of patents arise when third parties create patent-protected products who do not have the necessary authorisation from the owner of the patent. Cypriot courts have jurisdiction to determine the outcome of any dispute relating to any patent infringements. Once a court has determined that the defendant is guilty of an infringement the successful plaintiff is entitled to damages normally accompanied by an order preventing the defendant from any further infringement.
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