Patents of Invention

– Law No. 4/2001 of December 31, 2001.
– Decree-Law No. 23/2016 of February 9, 2017.

Membership in International Conventions

– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since May 12, 1998.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since May 12, 1998.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since July 3, 2008.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since September 13, 2008.
– ARIPO, Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs, since August 19, 2014.

Filing

Applicant: the inventor(s) or his successor(s) in any title. 

Foreign applicant: must appoint a local agent and has the obligation to declare any identical invention filed abroad as well as any examination reports and/or Letters Patent. 

Naming of the inventor(s): mandatory, except for express renunciation by the inventor(s). 

Patentability conditions: an invention is patentable if it is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application.

Novelty: worldwide.

Exceptions to protection: (a) theoretical and scientific principles; (b) systems, plans, rules and methods in the exercise of purely intellectual activities, in the domain of games or economics; (c) methods of surgical and therapeutical treatment or diagnosis applicable to the human or animal body; however the products, substances or compositions used in any of those methods may be patented.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. A description with one or several claims, in Portuguese or in a foreign language, in the latter case with an official translation;
2. An abstract;
3. Drawings, if any.

PCT applications: to be filed in accordance with the provisions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Regulations made thereunder. The time limits for entering national phase are those which would normally apply: 30 months for both Chapters I and II and 31 months through ARIPO Chapters I and II.

Examination

Examination: once granted a date of filing, the Director of the Industrial Property Office proceeds to the examination of the application, checking if same complies with the conditions foreseen by the rules and by the provisions of the regulation to which they relate.

Publication: a notice will be published in the Industrial Property Gazette with a transcription of the abstract. 

Opposition: within three months after publication.

Protection

Granting: on granting a patent, the Director of the Industrial Property Administrative Body orders the following actions: (a) publication of the grant of the patent; (b) delivery to the applicant of a certificate of grant of the patent and a copy of the patent; (c) registration of the patent; (d) delivery to the public interested thereon of copies of the patent against payment of the fee. 

Withdrawal of the application: the applicant may at any time withdraw his application of patent. 

Duration: twenty years from the filing date, not extendible.

Annuities: must be paid from the date of filing.

Assignment: must be recorded.

Modification of Protection after Granting

Use: the owner of a patent is obliged to directly or indirectly exploit his patented invention, to commercialize the goods obtained in such a way as to supply the needs of the market in São Tomé e Príncipe. 

Compulsory license: if not exploited by its owner, the invention may be exploited even by third parties without the consent of the owner of the patent.

Invalidity action: any person having a lawful interest may bring an action in court at any time during the validity of a patent to invalidate it if the owner is not the inventor nor his successor under the law and if the following occurs: (a) the object claimed as an invention does not constitute an invention under the terms of Article 23 of the applicable statute; (b) the object has not been described in such a way as to enable the working by a qualified expert in the matter and does not contain the respective claim. 

Effects of a patent annulment: the final decision of a patent annulment shall be recorded and is opposable by third parties from the date of its recordal.