Mauritius Patent Law
* Patents, Industrial Design and Trade Marks Act No. 25 of 2002
* Patents, Industrial Designs and Trade Mark Regulations, 2004
Mauritius is a member of the following international agreements:
* Berne Convention (since 1989)
* Paris Convention (since 1976)
* Universal Copyright Convention (since 1968)
* WIPO Convention (since 1976)
* WTO/TRIPS (since 1995)
Languages: French, English (official languages)
Note: Although Mauritius has not yet acceded to the PCT, the Act has specific provisions referring to the PCT and providing for international applications under PCT to designate Mauritius. However, until Mauritius accedes to the PCT it will not be possible to designate Mauritius in an international application under PCT.
Patent Filing requirements in Mauritius
* Power of Attorney notarized and legalized.
* Assignment from the inventors, or a statement by the applicant justifying its right to the invention (if applicable) (Legalized)
* Specification (including claims, drawings and abstract), in English
* Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable).
Mauritius Patent Registration Procedure
The Non-convention and convention applications are filed with the office of the Controller.
The application is subjected to formal examination at the Mauritius Patent Office. The Controller may direct that results of examination conducted in other countries, where corresponding applications have been filed, be furnished.
The Act does not provide provisions for opposition to the grant of a patent by third parties.
After examination, if the Controller is satisfied that the necessary requirements have been met, he shall grant and publish the patent.
If obstacles are not rise, the patent is registered.
The timeframe from filing to registration is approximately from 3 to 4 years.
The duration of a patent is 20 years.
Maintenance fees are payable annually from the filing date for pending applications and granted patents. If the maintenance fee is not paid, the patent lapses. There is no grace period provided.
An applicant who has filed a patent application in a convention country is entitled to claim priority from such earlier application, provided the application in Mauritius is filed within 12 months from the earlier application.
The following, even if they are inventions, are not patentable:
* discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods
* schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games
* methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body
* essentially biological processes for the production of plants and animals
* plant varieties, and
* literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works or any other aesthetic creation whatsoever.
* Although methods for the treatment of the human or animal body and diagnostic methods are not patentable subject matter, the prohibition does not extend to products for use in those methods.
Mauritius Trademark Law
Legal basis is the Patent, Industrial Designs and Trade Marks Act 2002 (Act 25 of 2002; proclamation No. 1 of 2003 with effect as of January 6, 2003 and regulations of 2004.
Trade mark protection is obtained by registration.
Well known trade marks are recognised.
Languages: French, English (official languages)
Nice classification. Multi-class applications are admissible.
A Power of attorney duly Notarised in the country of origin of the applicant and registered at the Registrar General of Mauritius needs to be submitted together with the application, or within two (2) months (this term can be extended at the discretion of the Controller).
Mauritius Trademark Registration Procedure
* Trademark applications are filed in ‘paper format’ at the Mauritius Industrial Property Office (IPO) located in Port Louis.
* In order to receive an application date and number, the application fees must be paid before 2:30 PM.
* The official examination includes a trademark search and applications are examined on both absolute and relative grounds, and an office action may issue requiring the filing of a response within two (2) months. Once the Controller is satisfied that the requirements for registration are complied with, he must accept the application and cause it to be published in the Government Gazette.
* After registration, the trademark is published for opposition in the Mauritius Government Gazette. The Gazette is published weekly in paper format.
National Opposition Period
Any person may, within two (2) months of the publication of acceptance of the application in the Government Gazette, lodge an opposition. This period is extendible on application to the Registrar.
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the filing date of the application for registration. Renewal is possible for subsequent periods of 10 years. A trademark may be renewed during the period of six months preceding the expiry date. Subject to the payment of a penalty, renewal is still possible up to three months after the due date.
The application may contain a declaration claiming priority of an earlier application filed by the applicant. A certified copy of the priority application (with English translation if necessary) is required to be filed within three months of the lodgment date.
Opposition proceedings in Mauritius
Opposition is by way of notice and must state the grounds of opposition and must be accompanied by supporting evidence.
The applicant is afforded an opportunity to file a counter-statement with the grounds on which he relies for his application, with supporting evidence.
If the applicant does not file a counter-statement, he shall be deemed to have abandoned the application.
Where the applicant files a counter-statement, the Controller shall, after hearing the parties, if so required, decide whether the mark should be registered.
Grounds of opposition
The grounds upon which a trade mark application may be opposed include:
* that the mark is incapable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.
* that the mark is contrary to public order or morality.
* that the mark is likely to mislead any person, in particular as regards the geographical origin of the goods or services concerned, or their nature or characteristics.
* that the mark is identical with, or an imitation of, or contains an armorial bearing, flag or other emblem, a name or abbreviation of, or an official sign or hallmark adopted by, any state, intergovernmental organisation or organisation, unless authorised by the competent authority of that state or organisation.
* that the mark is identical with, or confusingly similar to, or constitutes a translation of, a mark or trade name which is well known in Mauritius for identical or similar goods or services of another enterprise.
* that the mark is identical with a mark belonging to a different proprietor and already on the register, or with an earlier filing or priority date, in respect of the same goods or services or closely related goods or services, or where it so nearly resembles such a mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.
* that the mark is similar to a well-known mark which is registered in Mauritius for goods or services that are not identical or similar to those for which registration is applied, that use of the mark in relation to those goods or services would indicate a connection between those goods or services and the owner of the well-known mark, and the interests of the owner of the well- known mark are likely to be damaged by such use.
* that the mark contains certain prohibited words such as ‘registered’, 'patent’, ‘copyright’, as well as ‘Mauritius’, the Mauritian flag etc.
Cancellation for removal of a trade mark
Any interested person may apply to the Controller for cancellation of a mark in the case of non-use; or to the Tribunal where the requirements for registration have not been fulfilled (see the section on Grounds of
opposition above) for an order invalidating the registration of a mark or removing it from the register.
The grounds for cancellation are:
* that the mark does not fulfil the definition of a trade mark or does not fulfil one of the other requirements for registration.
* that up to one month prior to the filing of the request, the mark had, after its registration, not been in use by the registered owner or a licensee for a continuous period of three years, unless reasonable circumstances prevented the use.
The Act provides that, where no use of a registered trade mark by the owner or a licensee has taken place for a continuous period of three years, the registration may be cancelled, unless there were reasonable circumstances that prevented the use and there was no intention not to use the mark.