Patents of Invention
– Industrial Property Act, 1965, as amended.
– Industrial Property Rules, 1967, as amended.
Membership in International Conventions
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), since July 10, 1973.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Lisbon Act since 1973, Stockholm Act since 1977, Art. 13 to 30.
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since January 4, 1977.
Applicant: the inventor, his assignee or the personal representative of any deceased person who, immediately before his death was entitled to make such an application.
Foreigners: are eligible to apply for a grant of a patent in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The Industrial Property Rules stipulate that the application and certain other documents must be signed by the applicant himself. Otherwise, unless the Registrar General directs to the contrary, all other notices, applications or documents filed under the Act may be signed by and all attendances upon the Registrar General may be made by or through an agent duly authorized to the satisfaction of the Registrar General. A document in a foreign language must be accompanied by a translation thereof, verified by affidavit or otherwise to the satisfaction of the Registrar General.
Naming of inventor(s): must be named in every application, where the applicant is the assignee of the inventor, the application must be accompanied by a declaration signed by the inventor or his personal representative, stating that he assents to the making of the application. When the inventor is himself the applicant, he must state his full name, address and nationality.
Notion of invention: the application must be accompanied by a specification which must fully describe the invention. The claims of the specification must relate to a single invention based fairly on the matter disclosed in the specification. Drawings may be attached to the specification, and must be included if the Registrar General so requires.
Novelty (notion): the invention must not have been made available to the public in the Bahamas or elsewhere.
Exceptions to protection (unpatentable inventions): inventions, processes and improvements already in use or made known to the public, inventions contrary to morality or public order and biological processes for the production of plants or animals.
Patents of addition: possible for the unexpired time of the original patent.
Secret patents: none.
Priorities: Convention priority may be claimed provided that the application in the Bahamas is made before the expiration of twelve months of the first application.
Territory covered: The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Application signed by the applicant;
2. The specification in duplicate;
3. Drawings, in duplicate, 13 x 8 to 8 1/4 or 16 to 16 1/2 inches;
4. Priority document (within three months);
5. Declaration signed by inventor(s) before a Notary Public, stating that he/they consent to filing of the application (within three months);
6. Form 1 (“Application for a Patent”), preferably printed double-sided on legal paper and signed on behalf of the applicant.
Note: the Patent Office in the Bahamas has recently become unwilling to accept patent applications unless points 4, 5 and 6 under the above filing requirements are furnished up-front, notwithstanding that this contravenes the provisions of, inter alia, the Paris Convention.
Amendment of application: amendment is possible. After acceptance of the specification, no amendment can be made except by way of disclaimer, correction or explanation of an obvious mistake.
Interference: no opposition possible before grant of patent, except opposition to a request to correct a clerical error. Such an opposition must be filed within one month of the publication of the request in The Journal.
Rights of prior user: cannot be claimed at this stage.
Disputes about ownership and novelty: only after grant.
Extent of examination: the application is examined to ensure that it complies with the law relating to the form of the application and specification, to ascertain novelty to a limited degree and to ensure that the invention itself is not one that is by law excluded from protection. The Registrar General may, if he thinks fit, refer the application and specification to an Examiner who must report thereon to him. If the Examiner reports that the application and specification do not comply with the requirements of the Industrial Property legislation or that there are lawful grounds of objection to the grant of a patent, the Registrar General may refuse to proceed with the application or require the application or the specification to be amended before proceeding with the application.
Application kept secret: not provided for.
Provisional registration: not provided for.
Registration: the Registrar General notifies the applicant that the specification is accepted and the Department advertises the acceptance in The Journal. The applicant must then, within a period of four months, request the grant of the patent. This period may be extended for a further three months by request. In the case of the death of applicant(s) before expiration of the period, the request may be made anytime within twelve months after the death or at such later date as the Registrar may allow. The grant is made at anytime after the request for the issue is filed.
Corrections: after registration the court may, on application by any person aggrieved by non-insertion, omission or wrongful entry, rectify the Register of Patents.
Publication: advertisement in The Journal of the acceptance which states that the specification is open for inspection on a date not later than one month after the letter of acceptance is sent to the applicant.
Delivery of document: may take several years from filing date.
Beginning of protection: from date of filing of application in the Bahamas.
Duration – extension: sixteen years, extension not possible.
Annuities: at the expiration of the fourth year the patent must be renewed annually in order to be kept in force.
Annuities grace period: six months with fine.
Marking of patented goods: not provided for, but is usually done.
Amendment of issued patent: amendment of the specification is possible by Registrar General or with the leave of the court in any action for infringement or revocation of a patent.
Revocation: by the Registrar General where the invention was unlawfully obtained or by the court.
Assignment: possible. Application must be accompanied by an official or certified copy of the assignment and if the Registrar General so directs, the original of the document should also be produced for examination, but not for retention.
License for exploitation: application by licensee to Registrar General to register the license accompanied by a certified copy of the license contract.
Working: not provided for.
Restoration of lapsed patents and patent applications: application may be made to restore a patent which has lapsed because of failure to pay a renewal fee; the application must be made within three years from the date on which the patent lapsed and to be successful it must show that the failure was unintentional; the application must be made as soon as possible after the matter has been discovered, and the application must be prosecuted diligently. If failure to make a request for a patent to be sealed within the time allowed by S12 (2) of the Industrial Property Act 1965 was unintentional, the Registrar General may, within six months of the expiration of that time, order the patent to be sealed, subject to prior advertisement, the giving of opportunity for opposition and the protection of any persons who have begun to use the invention.
Modification of Protection after Granting
Rights of prior user: prior use must be proved.
Opposition to granted patents: same as for “Revocation” above.
Compulsory licenses: none.
Expropriation: not provided for.
Nullification: same grounds as for “Revocation”.
Validation of invalidated patents: possible, see “Restoration” above.
Infringement: civil judicial action in Equity Side of The Supreme Court.
Penalties: offenses such as making a false entry in the Register or false representation are criminally punishable-fine on summary conviction.