Patent Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Patent?

A patent for an invention is grant of exclusive rights to make, use and sell the invention for a limited period of 20 years. The patent grant excludes others from making, using, or selling the invention. Patent protection does not start until the actual grant of a patent. A patent cannot be obtained on a mere idea or suggestion. Patent applications are examined for both technical and legal merit.

2. What is patenting system?

The basic theory of the patent system is simple and reasonable. It is desirable in the public interest that industrial techniques should be improved. In order to encourage improvement and to encourage also the disclosure of improvements in preference to their use in secret. Any person devising any improvement in a manufactured article or in machinery or methods for making it, may upon disclosure of his improvement at the Patent Office demand to be given a monopoly in the use of it for a limited period. After that period, it passes into the public domain.

3. Who may apply for a patent?

The true and the first inventor of the invention. An application for an ordinary patent may be made by any “person” (person includes a company or corporate body, a firm or a partnership) whether alone or jointly with any other person.  An application for a patent which claims a “priority date” may be made by the person who has made the application on which the claim to priority is based, or his legal representative, or his assignee, either alone or jointly with any other person. An application for a patent of addition may be made only by the applicant for the original patent to which it is an addition, if the application for the original patent is pending; or by the registered proprietor of such original patent, if it has been granted.

4. What kinds of patents are granted in Pakistan?

  • Following four kinds of Patents are granted under the Patents Ordinance:
    An ordinary patent
  • A black/mail box application relating to chemical products intended for use in agriculture and medicines.
  • A patent claiming “Priority”
  • A patent of addition, for improvement or modification of an invention for which a patent has already been applied for or granted.

5. What are the successive steps for obtaining Patent in Pakistan?

The following are the successive steps of the procedure for obtaining a patent Filing the “Application”, accompanied by either a Provisional or a Complete Specification.

  • Filing the Complete Specification, if the Specification filed with the Application was a Provisional Specification.
  • Examination and Acceptance of application by the Patent Office.
  • Overcoming Opposition, if any, to the grant of patent.
  • Sealing the patent.
    Applicant should take care to see that the application is accompanied by the prescribed fee and that the specification filed with the application contains a reasonable description of the invention.

6. What rights does a patent owner have?

  • A patent owner has the right to decide who may or may not use the patented invention
  • The patent owner may give permission or license to to the other party to use the invention
  • The owner may also sell the right to the invention to someone else. The person in whose favour the rights are transferred becomes new owner of the patent.
  • Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and invention enters the public domain, that is, the owner no longer holds exclusive right to the invention, which becomes available to commercial exploitation by others.

7. What is an invention?

According to Patents Ordinance 2000, invention is any new & useful product, including chemical products, art, process, method or manner of manufacture, machine, apparatus or other articles in any field of technology and includes any new and useful improvement of any of them is an alleged invention.

8. What inventions are Patentable?

Any invention, whether a product or process, in all fields of technology, is Patentable provided the invention meets the substantive criteria for patentability namely, novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.
The following shall not be regarded as invention within the meaning of Patentability:
a) discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method;
b) A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other creation of purely aesthetic character whatsoever;
c) A scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business;
d) The presentation of information; and
e) Substances that exist in nature or if isolated there from.

9. What is exclusion to Patentability?

There are specific exclusions to Patentability under section 7 of Patents Ordinance 2000 (as amended in 2002 and 2006) which may be generally summarized as follows:

  • Inventions the prevention of whose commercial exploitation is necessary to protect order public (public order) or morality, including to protect animal or plant life or health;
  • Inventions that are of an intellectual, abstract or aesthetic character (including discoveries, artistic works, computer software and methods for doing business);
  • Diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals; and certain biotechnology based inventions.
  • For a new or subsequent use of known product or process.
  • For a mere physical change in the appearance of a chemical product where the chemical formula or process of manufacturer remains the same.

10. Who can apply for Patent protection in Pakistan?

The true and the first inventor or inventors of the invention or his assignee or successor in interest or the legal representative.

11. How much does it cost to Patent an invention?

There is an official fee for registration of a patent. The attorney also charge for the services. The fee schedule is available as charges in our website.

12. What is declaration?

A declaration is a statement in which the inventor declares that he has read and understood the application and that he believes himself to be an inventor of the invention described in the patent application.

13. Who is a Patent Attorney and what is his role?

A Patent Attorney is a lawyer who can write patent applications and can file them with the Patent Office because these applications can be technically and procedurally complex.

14. Is it necessary to apply through Patent Attorney?

A patent application is an agreement between the inventor and the Patent Office that results in the issuance of patent. Drafting a patent application is different than writing a scientific paper. The issued patent will be reviewed over the year by public officials, such as patent examiners and judges, and business partners. Thus, the patent application should be drafted with these important audiences in mind. Due to the legal aspect of patent application it’s advised to consult a Patent Attorney for preparing a patent draft although it is not necessary.

15. What is Prior Art?

The Prior Art or “state of the art” is everything disclosed to the public anywhere in the world by publication in tangible form and traditionally developed or existing knowledge available or in possession of a local or indigenous community

16. What is Substantive Examination?

Under the patent law in Pakistan in order to determine the following Examination is conducted:

  • Whether the applicant is entitled to the grant of a patent;
  • Is invention is fully described;
  • Whether the claims define a patentable invention;
  • Do claims relate to a single invention;
  • Are the claims clear and succinct;
  • Are the claims fairly based on the matter disclosed in the specification;
  • Do the claims define a new invention; and
  • Does the claim of invention involves an inventive step

17. What is Novelty and Inventive Step?

An invention is new or Novel  if it does not form part of the state of the art or prior art. An invention shall be considered to involve an inventive step if at the date of the application it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art having regard to any matter that forms part of the state of the art.

18. How I can apply for Patent protection in Pakistan?

The Patent application can be filed at the Patent Office of Pakistan on prescribed form (Pl, P1A,P2, P2A) and paying the filing fee.

19. What is the time frame and procedure for the approval of patent in Pakistan?

  1. To apply and file the patent application
  2. The complete applications other than the provisional applications are assigned for examination to the respective examiners related to the field of invention.
  3. The examination of the application consists of a study of the application for compliance with the legal requirements
  4. The examination also conduct a search through National and International Databases, to see if the claimed invention is new, useful and non-obvious
  5. It is determined that the application meets the requirements of the patent statute and rules of practice.
  6. If the application does not satisfy the legislative requirements, the examiner issues a written examination report, which sets out any deficiencies as Office action.
  7. The applicant may respond to the written report by filing amendments to the application to overcome the objections.
  8. The examiner must then reconsider the application in the light of the applicant’s response.
  9. If any office action remains unresolved, the examiner issues another report.
  10. If the applicant does not comply with the office action within the given time the application will lapse.
  11. When the application is free of objections (either at the beginning of examination or as a result of an applicant’s response to report), the examiner is obliged to accept the application.
  12. The acceptance is then advertised in the Official Gazette Part V.
  13. A decision is reached by the examiner in the light of the study and the result of the search. As a result of the examination by the Patent Office, patents are granted.

20. What are the Patent specification in a Patent application?

The part of the patent application, which gives technical disclosure of the invention, is called patent specification.The specification has following sections:

  • The Abstract
  • The Background of the invention
  • The Summary of the invention
  • The Detailed description of the invention
  • The Drawings (if any) of the invention
  • The Claims made for the invention

21. What are Patent claims?

The claims clearly and concisely tell the world what the patent application claims for invention. The scope of the invention should be defined before first office action on the application. The applicant must try to make the description of the invention as broad as possible while remaining novel and nonobvious and should very carefully define each detail of the invention which is novel. This precise definition of the invention will become the “Claims”of the patent.

22. Is online patent search possible in Pakistan?

The Patent Office of Pakistan doesn’t have any online database at present through which you can search the patent database. The method you can utilize for the same purpose is that put a request for patent database search on form P27 with prescribed fee.

23. Can I get a certified copy of an accepted Patent application?

Yes. By submitting a request on form P26 with the prescribed fee for a single certified copy of an accepted patent specification.

24. What is the worth of Provisional Specification?

The real value of a provisional specification is that it may be used to establish an early priority date for a complete specification filed within twelve months in Pakistan.

25. If I get Patent what advantages I get?

Any person who acquires the patent for his invention may have following advantages:

  • The inventor gets the monopoly over the use of the product of his invention for a certain period.
  • The inventor may exploit the invention on the basis of patents.
  • He can assign, License or Transfer the ownership

26. What Inventions cannot be patented in Pakistan?

1. Discoveries of Laws of nature.
2. A productions.
3. Method or producing sound.
4. Computer Programs (Software).
5. Perpetual motion machines.
6. a method of writing music.
7. A fancy name for an article.
8. A trade mark.
9. The discovery of new properties of known substance.
10. A system of alphabet.
11. Chemical & Pharmaceutical product (till 2004).
12. A system of shorthand.
13. Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works.
14. Doctor’s prescriptions and Patent Medicines.
15. A system of indexing.
16. Mere charts, diagrams, or printed sheets.
17. A surgical operation.
18. Articles harmful to public heath & their prosperity.
19. Treatment of human beings, animals, flowers & plants.
20. Purely scientific & mathematical formulas & principles.

27. What is the Patent Regulatory Authority in Pakistan

The Patents Office. It is currently is a part of IPO Pakistan (Intellectual Property Organisation). The Patent Office administers the Patents Ordinance, 2000, Designs Ordinance, 2000 and LayoutDesigns of Integrated Circuits Ordinance, 2000.

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