Nationals applying for patent protection should follow a number of procedures to safeguard their inventions

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 22, 2019 (SKNIS): There are a number of procedures nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis have to follow when filing for patent protection, says Nicola St. Catherine, Assistant Registrar of the Intellectual Property Office of St. Kitts and Nevis (IPOSKN), who detailed the process on Wednesday’s (June 19) edition of “Working for You”.

When filing a national application for a patent, there should be proof of ownership, said Ms. St. Catherine. She added that it will also involve specifications with regards to the invention.

“You will have to describe the invention; you have to explain what it is supposed to do. Depending on whether it’s chemical, biological engineering, biophysics, biochemical, you have to explain,” she said.

Ms. St. Catherine stated that the national must also file a claim or claims for the invention. An abstract must be given, which might include drawings or a formula.

“When it comes to filing for patent protection, you have to disclose everything,” she said. “It is not going to be helpful to us if we do not know what it is exactly we are protecting.”

The assistant registrar noted that one of the aspects that determine whether or not the registrar can protect a patent is industrial applicability and industrial viability. “Will this thing go anywhere? Will it become a household name, and will it work?” she asked.

The person should also file a letter requesting patent protection and cite who the inventor is, the name of the invention amongst other information,” she said.

Ms. St. Catherine said that if an inventor, unlike other intellectual property, decides that they do not wish to be associated with their invention, they can apply to the registrar who will have their name not associated with it whenever they issue the documentation.

It was stated that if the person is not normally resident in the Federation “you will have to employ the services of a patent agent, which is usually a law firm, to file the documents for you and you have to then produce a power of attorney to give them that authority to file on your behalf.”

She said that the fees are around $950, which can be broken down with the application examination and publication in the gazette.

She noted that unlike other intellectual property, which is registered in the Federation, they can have protection for a period that is around 10 years; patents are different.

“Patents have to be maintained every year through the payment of fees,” said the assistant registrar. “You have to pay maintenance fees every year and the idea behind that is that you may start off with your invention, you apply for patent protection, you do not know how far it will go, you don’t know if it will work, you don’t know if it will actually meet the criteria that will allow it to have patent protection. So, you pay your fees every year and if by the fourth or fifth year you realize that the thing isn’t working out, it’s not taking off, once you refuse to pay the fees, it will simply lapse and that would be the end of protection.”

It was noted that the national application would have to follow the patent’s Act. The patent will be examined by the Intellectual Property Office of St. Kitts and Nevis. The national application only protects nationally. “You will only receive protection in the jurisdiction where you file for protection,” said Ms. St. Catherine.

She said that the duration of protection is a year, but a person can maintain their patent protection on an annual basis for up to 20 years.

“Your patent protection may only need to last five years,” she said. “Maybe after five years it is no longer profitable for you to continue paying your annual maintenance fees, but after 20 years, you cannot renew it. It will go into the public domain.”

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