Patents of Invention

– Patent Law No. 461-XII/1995, as of December 28, 1995, amended on March 26, 1996, June 23, 2000, December 27, 2002, October 4, 2008, and July 30, 2015.

Membership in International Conventions

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since December 25, 1991.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since December 25, 1991.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since December 25, 1991.
– Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure, since December 25, 1991.
– Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the International Patent Classification, since September 1, 1998.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since July 26, 2001.
– Patent Law Treaty, since April 28, 2005.
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since March 16, 2007.

Validation of a European Patent: possible in Moldova as of November 1, 2015.

Filing

Applicant: any natural person or legal entity (Art. 13). Foreigners: must be represented by an agent and act through him, except for the following actions: filing of a patent application, payment of fees, filing of a prior application (Art. 86(2)). Priorities: one or more or partial priorities may by claimed. Priority can be claimed within the twelve months’ Convention period from foreign applications. The applicant can claim the priority of the prior application for the subsequent application within twelve months from the filing date of the prior application (domestic priority). The prior application will be withdrawn. The exhibition priority can be claimed within six months from the date of showing the invention at the exhibition (Art. 39, 40). Types of patents: patent for an invention, short-term patent for invention, additional certificate of protection, Eurasian patent and validated European patent. The same invention disclosed in the Eurasian and national patent of the same applicant cannot be simultaneously protected by two patents (Art. 4). Patents: can be granted for any invention in any technological field, the object of which is a product or method (Art. 6). Plants or animals: can be covered by patents, if the invention is not limited to the plant variety or animal species. Microbiological processes and microorganisms: can be covered by patents (Art. 6). Patentability: patents are granted for inventions susceptible of industrial application, which are new and which involve an inventive step (Art. 6(1)). Novelty: to be new an invention must not have been disclosed to the public by means of written or oral description, by use nor in any other way and must not be the content of a Moldovan patent application or of a European patent application or a PCT application for which the validation fee has been paid for extension to Moldova, having an older filing date and published on or after its own filing date (Art. 8). A written description is not necessarily a printed publication. A publication or public use within six months prior to a Moldovan application is now normally a bar to patentability. Such publication or prior application is only then not destroying novelty if it is representing evident abuse detrimental to the applicant or if the publication has been carried out by the applicant himself or his predecessor by showing the invention at an international exhibition. Corresponding notice is to be given to the Agency on the filing date and a certificate is to be filed within three months. Exceptions to protection: inventions contrary to the law or public morals; discoveries, theories, ideas, mathematical methods, aesthetic creations, schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business; programs for computer and presentations of information. Patents are not granted for methods for treatment of the human or animal body; for plant and animal varieties; for biological methods of obtaining plants and animals; inventions, the object of which is the human body at different stages of its formation; for methods of human cloning; for methods for modification of genetic identity of embryonic human line; use of human embryos for industrial or commercial purposes; methods for modification of genetic identity of animals (Art. 6, 7). Electronic filing: available. Territory covered: the Republic of Moldova.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Specification (can be filed in any language, but if not Romanian, then a Romanian translation must be filed within a period of three months);
2. An abstract comprising the title and an extract of the disclosure in triplicate; if reference is made to a drawing, such drawing is to be added;
3. Patent claims;
4. Drawings (if designated);
5. Power of attorney;
6. Declaration of inventorship, containing full name, profession and address of the inventor or inventors and the date of assignment. The declaration can be signed by the representative;
7. Copy of priority application;
8. A priority is to be claimed within sixteen months from the priority date.

First filing requirement: an invention created by an applicant, who is a Moldovan national or who has his/her permanent residence or principal place of business in the Republic of Moldova, may only be patented abroad after the filing of a patent application with the Moldovan Patent Office (Article 31(2)).

PCT applications: time limit for entering national phase under Chapter I and Chapter II: 31 months. Late national phase entry is not possible.  Amendment of claims for entry into national phase: the claims shall be filed as in the international application. After entering into national phase, it is possible to make amendments to the patent application or patent. Multiple dependent claims are allowed.

European patent applications: since November 1, 2015, it is possible to request validation of European patent applications and patents in Moldova (including PCT applications containing a designation for a European patent) conferring essentially the same protection as patents granted by the EPO.

Examination Procedure

Examination: a formal examination, a preliminary examination, and where appropriate, a complete examination. The formal examination is carried out within one month after the filing date and comprises checking the formal requirements. The Agency assigns the filing date to the patent application and registers it in the National Register of Patent Applications. The preliminary examination is carried out within two months and comprises checking the application according to the requirements established by law, whether the subject of the invention is patentable, the unity of the invention, and determining the priority, if necessary. For the purpose of granting a short-term patent of invention, the Agency conducts only a formal and preliminary examination (but also a search as to prior art). Publication of the patent application: on expiration of eighteen months from the filing date or the priority date if claimed, the Agency shall publish a notice in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property. The published application is available for public inspection. International applications are published before the expiration of six months from the date of opening of national stage. Complete examination: upon written request of the applicant, which can be presented to the Agency when filing the application or within thirty months thereafter (or within thirty months from entry into National Phase for PCT application), the processing of the application may or may not comprise a complete examination. It is carried out in the eighteen months following the filing date of such request. Accelerated examination: available. The term for conducting the procedure is reduced by two times provided that a surcharge for urgency of 100% of the fee prescribed for the corresponding procedure is paid (Article 21 of the Regulations on the Application of Fees for Legal Services in the Field of IP).  Patent Prosecution Highway program: there is no special program to speed up the examination process using the PPH or Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH). Amendments to the application: on his own initiative, the applicant may make amendments, at least one time, to the specification and drawings with the payment of a fee (Art. 87). Divisional application: may be filed during the formal or complete examination if the requirements regarding the unity of the examined applications are not met; a divisional application may retain the priority of the basic application.

Granting, Protection

A granting decision is issued after the complete examination if the patentability and novelty requirements are met. The applicant may appeal a negative decision before the Agency Appeal Board within a two-month term. A negative decision of the Appeal Board may further be appealed in a court procedure within a two-month term. The decision of a patent grant or of the rejection of a patent application is effective from the date of its publication in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property. Duration of patents: twenty years from the day following the filing date (Art. 18(1)). The duration of a short-term patent is six years. The owner has the right to extend the duration of the short-term patent for four years (Art. 18). Annuities: the fee for patent grant is paid within six months from the publication date of the information concerning the decision of patent grant; annuities are due on the anniversary date of the filing date (Art. 61, 93). Annuity grace period: six months with a fine of 50%.

Modification of Protection after Granting

Opposition: may be filed within six months after the publication of the official notification of grant. Invalidation: possible, based on unlawful grant of a patent or wrong indications of the data in the issued documents, during the entire period of validity. License: exclusive or ordinary licenses can be granted by a licensing contract and can be registered at the Patent Office. The consequences of any assignment of rights to a patent application or to a patent are considered effective for third parties only from the publication date of the information about assignment in the Bulletin. Compulsory license: may be requested in case of non-working during four years from the filing date of the patent application or three years from the patent granting date. A compulsory license is granted only if an interested party has made an attempt to obtain the authorization of the patentee upon commercial acceptable conditions and by reasonable methods and if he was not able to obtain authorization in reasonable time (Art. 26). Infringement: actions for infringement must be filed with the court. Right of prior user: the patent has no effect against a person who at the time of application or, if the priority was claimed, before the priority date of the patent application, has already used the invention or made the necessary arrangements for using it (Art. 25).

Short-term Patents of Invention

Patentability: a short-term patent is granted for any invention provided that it is new, has an inventive step and is industrially applicable. Not granted for biological material, chemical or pharmaceutical substances and/or methods. Examination: a formal examination, a preliminary examination and a search is also conducted as to the prior art. Publication of the patent application: the application is published after the expiration of eighteen months at the same time with the decision of the patent grant. Conversion of application: the application for a short-term patent can be converted into an application for a patent of invention until the granting decision of the short-term patent by the Agency. The converted application is given the filing date and/or the date of priority of the first application. Duration: six years from the filing date of the application. Extension: the owner has the right to extend the duration of the short-term patent for no more than four years. The payment of the fee for extension of term must be effected not earlier than one year and not later than six months prior to the expiration of the validity.

Supplementary Protection Certificate for Pharmaceutical and Phytopharmaceutical Products

Applicant: the owner of the patent for invention of the pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical products. Filing requirements: the following have to be filed: (a) an application, within six months from the date when the authorization to sell pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical products was granted. If the authorization was granted before the grant of the basic patent, the application has to be filed within six months from the date of the patent grant; (b) a copy of the permission to sell the pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical products. Publication: the decision to grant the certificate is published in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property. Certificate: offers the same rights as the basic patent. Duration: equal to the term from the date of filing the application on the basic patent till date of receiving the permission to sell the pharmaceutical product, but not longer than five years. Annuities: each year prior to the anniversary of the filing date of the basic patent.