Friday, July 8, 2011

New IP legislation for Samoa

A few weeks ago we met the Deputy-Registrar responsible for administering the Samoan Intellectual Property Registry.  The Registry, based in Apia, is administered by the Ministry responsible for Commerce, Industry and Labour.

Samoa is putting in place an Intellectual Property Bill 2011.  The Samoan Government is looking for input from major stakeholders.  Out of all trade marks filed annually in Samoa, our firm files a third of them.  So I guess we are major stakeholders.  Today we made submissions on most aspects of the Bill.

The new legislation is an omnibus Bill covering patents, utility models, industrial designs, trade marks, plant breeder’s rights, geographical indications and circuit layouts.  It has been drafted by a consultant in Samoa and modelled on WIPO legislation.  It still needs to be translated into Samoan, tabled in Parliament, pass through Parliamentary debate, and undergo community consultation before being signed off by the Head of State.

The key features of the patents part of the Bill are:

  • Novelty assessed against use within Samoa and publication anywhere
  • Protection mechanisms for traditional resources
  • An intention to be Paris convention compliant
  • Registrar may impose duty to disclose foreign applications
  • Publication on grant
  • Ability to claim convention priority of up to two years

That’s what it looks like from the exposure draft.  There’s still a few amendments ahead I suspect.

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