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What is Patent?

Patent is the term used to describe the protection over an invention. Such a protection is only limited to the “technical function” of an invention and does not extend to any other external feature.

What constitutes an invention?

An invention is the term used to describe a device or a machine or a process that is created by an individual or a group for use to solve an existing technical problem.

A technical problem refers to shortfalls in performance of a device, machine or a process but not all types of creations can be considered an invention. There are some that are considered as “Non-Patentable Inventions“.

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Steps to Becoming an Inventor

1. Inventions usually start from an individual or group identifying a need or noticing a problem!

2. They then think of a creative way to solve that problem and;

3. Work hard to make that solution possible through building or creating a product for testing and gradually for general use by the public.

An invention may serve several functions which include:

• A new way of doing something that is more economical and efficient

• An enhancement of an existing feature of a device, machine or process which when applied improves the performance.

• A new product which when used improves life in general whether it be lifestyle, health, well being or other.

Examples of inventions:

  1. Car for Transportation
  2. Light bulb to provide lighting
  3. Medicine for curing illnesses
  4. Paper Clip for attaching papers
  5. Mobile phones for communication etc..

Why is Patent Protection important?

Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially exploited (i.e. it can not be manufactured, used, distributed, exported, imported or sold) without the patent owner’s consent.

If an invention is protected in PNG, no one else other than the owners is allowed to put it to use. Third parties will need to seek permission and use it PNG through a license or an assignment.

Innovation is a tool that can be used to improve lives.

It is driven by the desire to improve something, maybe a machine, a process or to build something to change the way something is done.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a lot of need for improvement in areas of transport, agriculture, health, education, accomodation and renewable energy. These areas play an important role in the livelihood of person living in PNG.

If someone can invent something to improve PNG’s livelihood, he/she can seek patent protection to gain exclusive right over that invention in PNG for commercial gains for the investment he/she has made. On the other hand, the general public gets to enjoy the benefits of that invention too through improvement of their well being.

What is the Effect of Patent Protection?

Patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially exploited (can be manufactured, used, distributed, exported or sold) without the patent owner’s consent.

For third parties to use, sell, import or manufacture the protected invention in Papua New Guinea, one must seek permission from the inventor or owner through assignment or licensing arrangements.

An inventor or owner who has patent protection over an invention is referred to as an Intellectual Property (IP) Right Holder.
This right holder now has the advantage of dictating the volume of accessibility to his invention and thus to some extent enjoys monopoly. However, should the right holder abuse that right in provoking unfair competition in the market or abuse of rights to the extent of denying access to his invention to meet demand in the market that concerns the well being of the people of Papua New Guinea, the law does provide flexibilities for the government to step in and remedy that behavior to ensure there is fair competition and users are not critically disadvantaged.

What are Non-Patentable Inventions?

Non- Patentable inventions refers to those inventions that cannot be protected under patent due to their origin, nature or implications on moral values and beliefs. Some examples include;-

  1. scientific, mathematical and business methods, scheme, rule or concepts,
  2. diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods used on animals or humans,
  3. discoveries of materials or substances already existing in nature
  4. plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for production of such
  5. any invention considered contrary to public order or morality and that which is seriously prejudice to the environment

In relation to this, invention claim types that are considered not acceptable for registration includes;-

  1. Swiss Style Claims or
  2. Method of Use claims for medical purposes or
  3. Method of Treatment Claims or Therapeutic Claims

These claim types are considered to encourage flexibilities in allowing for non-patentable subject matters/inventions to be registered and thus is not allowed in any application for registration for patent.

Applying for Patent Protection in Papua New Guinea

Patent protection can be obtained by protecting your inventions through filing of a complete application in any country of the applicant’s choice.

In Papua New Guinea, you can file a National Application through the Paris Convention Route or you can file an International Application through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Route.

  1. Fill in Form 1 (or a copy of the PCT Request Form and PCT Publication Document will suffice for International Applications)
  2. Attached 3 separate sets of copies of the Description, Claims, Abstract and Drawings (if any)
  3. Fill in a Power of Attorney form if represented by an agent.
  4. Fill in Statement Justifying the Applicant’s Right if the applicant is not the inventor.
  5. Provide a single copy of supporting documents, if any.
  6. Do a direct bank deposit of the lodgement fee (PGK1000.00) to Investment Promotion Authority account.
  7. Attach the bank receipt or report of transaction with the application

Important Filing Requirements and Guides

Prior to filing an application for patent, an applicant MUST read the following requirements including the guide to be able to successfully file his/her application.

  1. Patent National Application Filing Guide
  2. Patent International Application Filing Guide
  3. Patent Application Physical Requirements for Applicants
  4. Patent Formality Requirement for Applicants
  5. Patent Fee Schedule For Applicants

For More information, please contact our office.

A person over the age of 18 years old is eligible to apply for patent protection in Papua New Guinea.

Inventors under the age of 18 years old can seek representation from biological parents or guardians to file an application with the Office on their behalf.

Types of Applications that can be filed:

  1. National Applications filed by citizens  or residents of Papua New Guinea have 12 months from the date of public disclosure of the invention through exhibitions, launching, publication etc. If no application is filed within the time limit and that period expires, the invention may not be considered as new and thus be refused for patent.
  2. National Applications filed by foreign citizens in Papua New Guinea via the Paris Convention route, must file within 12 months from the filing date of the first application. If application is filed outside the 12 months, a declaration of priority relating to the first application will not be accepted. No extension of time allowed.
  3. International Applications can be filed by a citizen of another country in Papua New Guinea through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) route. To enjoy the benefits of PCT and to make a declaration of priority, the application must enter national phase in Papua New Guinea within 31 months of the priority date. No extension of time allowed.

Why is it important to conduct a Patent Search before applying for Patent?

A patent search is important because it will allow an applicant to know if the invention he intends to protect has already been created. It also informs the inventor if an application has been filed or registered for patent protection.

This will allow the inventor to decide on whether to enhance his/her invention based on the existing invention or come up with a new one. In doing so, the inventor avoids his application from being refused for Patent or to avoid possible infringement.

For more information, see the Patent Search Guide.