An invention shall be patentable if it is novel, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable.
What may not be patented?
- 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 practiced on the human or animal body;
- an invention the exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or morality.
Requirements of application
An application for a patent shall be made in duplicate and shall be accompanied by a list of necessary documentation.
Disclosure of the invention
The application shall disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for the invention to be carried out by a person skilled in the area.
Inspection of Files
After a patent application or the patent granted thereon has been published, any person may inspect the files of the application.
Rights of Priority
The application may contain a declaration claiming priority pursuant to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, of one or more earlier national, regional or international applications filed by the applicant or his predecessor in title in or for any State party to the said Convention or the World Trade Organisation or for any State with which Malta has made an international arrangement for mutual protection of inventions.
Examination and Grant or Refusal
Following an examination of the application, an applicant shall be given the opportunity to amend the application in order to comply with the requirements. Failing such amendments, the Comptroller may refuse the application.
Terms of Patents
The term of a patent shall be 20 years from the filing date of the application. The maintenance of a patent shall be subject to the payment of the prescribed fee in respect of the third year and each subsequent year thereafter.
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; and
- 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.
Assignment of Patents
Any change in the ownership of a patent application or a patent shall be registered. The new proprietor of the application or patent shall be entitled to institute any legal proceedings concerning the patent only if he has been recorded in the patent register as the new proprietor.
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.
The Civil Court, First Hall, may, on a writ of summons filed by any person who proves his ability to work the patented invention in Malta, made after the expiration of a period of four years from the date of filing the application for the patent or three years from the grant of the patent, whichever is later, direct the Comptroller to grant a non-exclusive, non-voluntary licence if the patented invention is not worked or is insufficiently worked in Malta.
Exploitation by Government or by third parties authorized by Government
Where the national security or public safety so requires, the Minister may authorize, even without the agreement of the proprietor of the patent or the patent application, by notice published in the prescribed form, a Government agency or a person designated in the said notice to make, use or sell an invention to which a patent or an application for a patent relates, subject to payment of equitable remuneration to the proprietor of the patent or the application for the patent.
Right of Appeal
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.