In many countries, a patent can only be registered if it is new, has an inventive step, and is industrially applicable. In addition to meeting these substantial requirements, you also must meet other formal requirements, including legal deadlines.
It turns out that in many jurisdictions there are types of patents with substantial lighter requirements, namely utility models.
However, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) chooses to specify three other types of patents: “Art.5. There shall be three types of patents: invention patents, import patents, and improvement patents.” (Article 5, Law No. 82-001 of January 7, 1982, on Industrial Property)
The rules on invention patents are the traditional ones, present in most countries. Any invention which, arising from inventive activity, is capable of being exploited as the subject matter of industry or trade, shall be patentable.
Regarding the others, the following is stipulated:
Protection for these two types of inventions shall come to an end at the same time as the primary patent to which they are attached.
The law does not refer in detail to the examination conditions for these inventions other than these two definitions.
However, we must still delimit what can or cannot be registered as a patent in DR Congo:
Although there is no protection for this non-patentable matter, discoveries may be the subject of a title called an “incentive certificate”.
The law further adds that: “Incentive certificates shall be issued to the author or holder of the discovery and shall give him the right to a reward, in accordance with the conditions and arrangements to be determined by enabling measures. Nevertheless, incentive certificates shall only be granted for useful discoveries.”
The DR Congo law assigns applicants several ways to protect their inventions.
The rules are quite applicant-friendly and create a broad dome of protection for inventions and discoveries. In this sense, despite the lack of deadlines to file a patent in DR Congo, there are legal mechanisms to fill in this gap.
This is a co-published article, which was originally published in the World Intelectual Property Review (WIPR)