Patent Application & Registration in Malta
Any natural person or legal entity may apply for a patent either alone or jointly with another.
In order to register a patent the official application documents have to be filed with the Malta IPO.
Filing requirements for Malta Patent Applications:
- The Power of Attorney (POA Requirements);
- The applicant's name and address;
- A description of the invention;
- A copy of the abstract and the complete specifications;
- One or more claims;
- Drawings referred to in the description or in the claims;
- A translation is required in case the patent is not in English or Maltese;
- Priority number, date claimed and priority document (in case prority will be claimed);
A translation is required in case the patent is not in English or Maltese.
In this case a translation of the patent title, description, claims and drawings is required.
The translation has not necessarily to be filed together with the patent application but is required within 2 months from the filing date of the patent application.
A patent application with a claim of priority can be filed within 12 months from the date of the first filing of a patent application.
Priority can be claimed pursuant to the "Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property", of one or more earlier national, regional or international applications filed in/for any State party to the Paris Convention, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) or for any State with which Malta has made an international arrangement for mutual protection of inventions.
Requirements & Documentation for Claim of Priority:
- Country, date and application number of the first application;
- Copies of the priority documentation of the first application from the Comptroller of Industrial Property (in case the priorty documentation is not in English a translation is required);
Under the Patents and Designs Act of Malta an Invention is patentable when:
- it is novel and
- it involves an inventive step and
- it is susceptible of industrial application
An Invention shall be considered to be novel if it does not form part of the prior art.
"Prior Art" means everything which, before the filing date or, where priority is claimed, before the priority date of the application claiming the invention, was available to the public in a written or other graphic form, by an oral description, by use or in any other way anywhere in the world.
The prior art includes also the content of any patent application as filed in, or with effect for, Malta to the extent that such application or the patent granted thereon is published subsequently by or for the Office of the Comptroller.
An Invention shall be considered to involve an inventive step if, if it is not part of prior art and it is not obvious to a person skilled in the art.
An Invention shall be considered industrially applicable if it can be made or used in any kind of industry.
The term "industry" shall be understood in its broadest sense and shall include handicraft, agriculture and fishery.
Exclusions from Patentability
Basically the Patents and Designs Act of Malta excludes from registration:
- 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;
- the human body, at the various stages of its formation and development, and the simple discovery of one of its elements, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene;
- an invention the exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or morality;
If in doubt, you should check with us if an intended patent application is excluded from patentability.
Patent Registration Process
The timeline form application to registration:
Step 1: Filing the Patent Application
After we have received your instructions to file the patent we check that the application filing requirements are complete. If all filing requirements are complete we prepare the official documents and file the application directly with the Malta IPO.
Step 2: Examination of Application . approx. 6-18 months
The Malta IPO examines the patent application in order to determine whether the application complies with the requirements laid down in the Malta Patents and Designs Act and the Malta Patent Regulations.
If the application as originally filed or as amended complies with all the formal requirements the Malta IPO grants the patent and issues the "Certificate of Registration".
In case the IPO determines that the patent application does not comply with the requirements laid down in the Act and in the regulations then the applicant shall be given the opportunity to amend the application in order to comply with the requirements.
In this case we receive communication from the IPO which will be forwarded to the applicant (resp. to the applicant's representative).
Step 3: Certificate of Registration . Checking & Forwarding within 2-7 working days
After the decision to grant a patent the Malta IPO shall publish a notification that the patent has been granted and shall publish the patent in the prescribed manner.
After the IPO has issued the "Certificate of Registration" the certificate will be sent to us.
We check if the certificate has been issued correctly and forward the original certificate to the applicant (resp. to the applicant's representative) by registered mail.
Rights conferred by a Patent
The proprietor of the Patent shall have the right to 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 a patent;
- the inducing of third parties to perform any of these acts;
A patent application, which has been published shall provisionally confer upon the applicant the same rights as mentioned above.
FAQs on Malta Patent Protection
After a patent application or the patent granted thereon has been published, any person may inspect the files of the application.
An appeal shall lie from any decision of the Comptroller refusing the grant of a patent, an application for the re-establishment of rights or any other request of the applicant for, or proprietor of, a patent.
Notice of appeal and a statement setting out the grounds of appeal shall be filed in writing at the Office of the Comptroller by the applicant or the proprietor of a patent, within two months of being informed of the decision and if the Comptroller considers the appeal to be admissible and well founded, he shall rectify his decision within three months from receiving the appeal.
If continually maintained the term of a patent shall be 20 years from the filing date of the application.
Further information: Patent Renewal & Annuity
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.