Patent rights provide an element of protection to the substantial investments made in developing inventions.

An invention may be patented if:

  1. It is novel
  2. It involves an inventive step
  3. It is susceptible of industrial application.

However not all inventions are patentable. The following may not be patented:

  1. discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
  2. aesthetic creations;
  3. schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business and programs for computers;
  4. presentations of information;
  5. 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;
  6. 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:

  1. the making of a product or the use of a process, which is the subject-matter of the patent;
  2. the offering on the market of a product incorporating the subject-matter of the patent;
  3. the inducing of third parties to perform any of these acts.