Thursday, August 30, 2012

Samoa implements new law

A fale at Faofao beach, SamoaLast year I commented that my AJ Park colleagues and I made submissions on the Samoa Intellectual Property Bill 2011. We met with the Deputy-Registrar responsible for administering the Samoan Intellectual Property Registry.

The Samoa Intellectual Property Act 2011 was passed in October last year. You can find a copy of it here. The implementing regulations are not yet in place. They are expected to be passed in October this year. Once the regulations are passed, both the Act and the Regulations will come into force.

No Re-registration

One of the major changes for patent applicants outside of Samoa is that there seems to be no provision for re-registration. We are all used to being able to re-register a patent granted elsewhere within two years from grant.

Those applicants that currently use the re-registration system will no longer be able to from October 2012. Samoa is not yet a signatory of the PCT Treaty. So all patent applications will need to be filed in Samoa within the 12 month Paris Convention deadline.

There is a 12 month grace period for disclosures due to or in consequence of acts committed by the applicant, the applicant's predecessor in title, or an abuse committed by a third party.

Traditional resources

Each application must contain a statement as to whether or not the invention is based on knowledge available within any local or indigenous community whether from Samoa or elsewhere.

The Registrar may ask for evidence as to the applicant's title or authority to make use of such material or knowledge. Failure to provide evidence is a ground on which the Registrar may cancel the application.

Information concerning foreign applications

The Registrar is able to ask for details of corresponding foreign applications. Although there is provision for examination, we expect that grant in a foreign jurisdiction will be sufficient to secure grant in Samoa.

Further steps

I guess the next step for Samoa will be to work toward becoming a signatory of the PCT Treaty. Until that happens, applicants need to be aware that re-registration will no longer be available.

Photo courtesy of author F0t0Synth under Creative Commons licence.

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