Patent rights provide an element of protection to the substantial investments made in developing inventions.
An invention may be patented if:
- It is novel
- It involves an inventive step
- It is susceptible of industrial application.
However not all inventions are patentable. The following may not be patented:
- discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- aesthetic creations;
- schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business and programs for computers;
- presentations of information;
- a method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and a diagnostic method practised on the human or animal body;
- an invention the exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or morality.
However biological inventions may be patentable subject to certain ethical and moral exceptions.
A patent application or patent may be licensed in whole or in part for the whole or part of Malta. A licence may be exclusive or non-exclusive. Once filed, the application is examined to ensure it satisfies all the necessary requirements, and once this is confirmed, the Comptroller grants a patent on the application.
The term of a patent is for twenty (20) years from the filing date of application.
The proprietor of the registered patent may prevent third parties from performing, without his authorisation:
- the making of a product or the use of a process, which is the subject-matter of the patent;
- the offering on the market of a product incorporating the subject-matter of the patent;
- the inducing of third parties to perform any of these acts.