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FAQ - PATENTS

1. Meaning of A Patent Under Belize Law

A patent is an exclusive title granted to an inventor to make, use or sell an invention in Belize for a period of twenty years. The title protects the invention against unauthorized uses by third parties. An invention is the idea of an inventor which permits in practice the solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. An invention may relate to a product (like a new cellphone) or a process (like the process to make a drug to cure cancer). (See Section 2 of the Patents Act, Chapter 253, available on this website).


2. Inventions Which Can Be Patented

For an invention to be protected by a patent under Belize law, it must be new – it must never have been made known to anyone anywhere in the world before the date of filing the patent application. In other words, the art of the invention must not form part of the general knowledge in its technical field. This is the condition in section 9 of the Patents Act, Chapter 253, providing that the patent must not form part of “prior art”.

  • involve an inventive step - this means the invention must not be obvious to a fairly knowledgeable, skilled and experienced person in the technical field of the invention. This is the condition in section 10 of the Patents Act, Chapter 253.
  • be capable of industrial application – this means that the invention must be capable of application in any branch of industry. This is the condition in section 11 of the Patents Act, Chapter 253.

3. Matters That Cannot Be Patented In Belize

In Belize, the following cannot be patented, even if they are inventions-

  • a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method.
  • a scheme, rule or method for doing business, performing a mental act or playing a game.
  • methods for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body.
  • a new animal or plant variety. (Section 12 of the Patents Act, Chapter 253, specifically prohibits the patenting in Belize of the matters set out above.)

4. Benefits You Obtain From Registering A Patent In Belize

When your patent is registered in Belize, you will have the exclusive right of exploiting the patented invention in Belize for a period of twenty years. Where the invention is a product, this means that you will have the exclusive right to make, import, offer for sale and use the product in Belize, including stocking the product for the purposes of sale for a period of twenty years. Where the invention is a process, this means you will have the exclusive right to use the process in Belize for a period of twenty years. These rights are set out in section 33 of the Patents Act, Chapter 253.

5. How You Apply For A Patent

To apply for a patent in Belize, your application should contain (a) a request, (b) a description, (c) one or more claims (d) one or more drawings where required, and (e) an abstract.

  • The request should be directed to the Registrar of the Belize Intellectual Property Office and should contain a petition for the grant of the patent. It should follow Form 1 (See Patent Forms available on this website) and should specify the name of the inventor and the title of the invention, like “Method for the Curing of Pig Disease By Double Osmosis” (see Section 17(1) and (2) of the Patents Act, Chapter 253).
  • The description must include a specification of the invention; that is, enough information on the invention sufficient to enable a reasonably knowledgeable, skilled and experienced person in the field of the invention to reproduce the invention, or to use it. In order to set out the description with sufficient clarity, it is permitted in Belize to attach to the description diagrams, plans or drawings of the invention. Also the description should set out what is being claimed in your application (this is what is called the patent claims). (See Section 17(4) of the Patents Act, Chapter 253).
  • Belize is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and a PCT national phase application can be filed in Belize at the Belize Intellectual Property Office without copies of any specification, or the international search report, or the international preliminary report as to patentability, by virtue of Administrative Instructions No. 2 of 2004, and Articles 20 and 36 and Rule 47 of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
  • You must also file with your request an Application for an Address of Service in Belize in Form No. 2 A. (see Patent Forms ). This will be the address in Belize of your local patent attorney.
  • You must also file with your petition a Power of Attorney, authorizing your local patent attorney to prosecute the patent application before the Belize Intellectual Property Office. This will be in Form 2 B (see Patent Forms).
  • You must also pay the official fees for the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our attorney (agency) fees. (See Patent Fees available on this website).

6. How You Classify Your Product or Process (Invention) In Your Patent Application

To classify your product or your process in your patent application in Belize, refer to the 8th Edition of the International Patent Classification (IPC) which can be accessed by clicking www.wipo.int/classifications/en/index.html (See "The Classifications - International Patent Classification (IPC) Eight Edition")


7. The Date Your Patent Will Be Granted

The date of grant of your patent in Belize will be the date the notice of the grant of the patent will be published in the Intellectual Property Journal, available on the website of the Belize Intellectual Property Office at www.belipo.bz. (see section 27(8) of the Patents Act, Chapter 253).


8. Duration of Your Patent

A patent expires twenty years after the filing date of the application (see section 28(1) of the Patents Act, Chapter 253). For PCT applications, the twenty years will be calculated from the international filing date.

9. If You Have Previously Surrendered Your Patent, You can Apply To Have It Restored or re-registered

To have your patent restored on the Register, or re-registered, you fill the
(i) Petition for Restoration/Re-Registration of Patent in Form No. 11;

(ii) Application For Address for service in Form No. 2A;

(iii) Power of Attorney authorizing your local patent agent to prosecute the restoration/re-registration in Form No. 2B; and you pay the official fees of the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our attorney (agency) fees. (See Patent Fees ).

10. You Can Also Oppose the Restoration of Your Opponent’s Patent

You do this by filing duplicate Notices of Opposition to Petition for Restoration of a Patent in Form No. 12 (see Patent Forms ) and paying the official fees for the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our attorney (agency) fees (See Patent Fees). You should also file an Application for an Address of Service in Belize, which will be the address of your local patent attorney in Belize, in Form No. 2 A and a Power of Attorney in Form No. 2B, authorizing your local patent attorney to prosecute the opposition of restoration before the Belize Intellectual Property Office. Your notice of opposition should be made within two weeks from the date of publication of the application for restoration of the patent. This time limit is very important since notice of application to restore a patent is only published in one issue of the Intellectual Property Journal, so that you need our local services to keep a watch of the publications and advise you as things happen.


11. If Your Application To Restore a Patent is Opposed, You May Answer the Opposition.

You do this by filing duplicate Forms of Answer to Opposition for Restoration of a Patent in Form No. 13 (See Patent Forms) and by paying the official fees of the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our local attorney (agency) fees.(See Patent Fees).

You must provide your answer within two weeks from the date of publication of the notice of opposition to the restoration of the patent. This time limit is very important, since the notice of opposition to the restoration of the patent is published only in one issue of the Intellectual Property Journal, and you will need our local services to watch the publications and advise you as things happen.


12. How You Maintain Your Patent

You maintain your patent by paying, in advance of each renewal year for the twenty years of the duration of your patent, the official fees of the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our attorney (agency) fees. These fees are set out on this website (See Patent Fees).

13. You Can Claim Priority From An Earlier Application Made In A Country Which Is A Member Of The Paris Convention For The Protection Of Industrial Property Or The World Trade Organization (WTO)

You can claim priority from an earlier patent application filed in or for a country which is a Party to the Paris Convention or a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Your priority claim in Belize must be made within one year of the earlier application. The date of filing of such an application claiming priority shall be the date of filing of the application in Belize. If the earlier application was not made in English, you must provide an English translation of the earlier application (see section 21 of the Patent Act, Chapter 253)

14 You Can Apply For A Recordal Of A Transfer Or Assignment of Your Patent

To apply for a recordal of a transfer or assignment of your patent, you fill the following Forms:
(i) Application to Record Transfer of Patent, in Form No. 10 (see Patent Forms). The instructions for completing this form are set out in the footnotes to the said form. You should also attach the relevant documents evidencing the transfer or assignment, like the Deed of Transfer or Assignment

(ii) Application for an Address for Service, in Form No. 2A (see Patent Forms). The instructions for completing this form are set out in the footnotes to the said form;

(iii) Power of Attorney, in Form No. 2B authorizing us to prosecute the application for recordal of a transfer or assignment of the patent. Form No. 2 B is available on this website (see Patent Forms). You should also pay the official fees for the Belize Intellectual Property Office, and our attorney (agency) fees. (see Patent Fees ).

15 You Can Apply For An Amendment To The Patent Application, Or Other Details On The Register

You can apply to amend your patent application, or other details appearing on the Patents Register, like your name, address, and so on. To do this, you fill out

(i) an Application to Amend Application For Registration Of A Patent, in Form No. 2D (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(ii) an Application To Record A Change In The Register, in Form No. 9 (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(iii) an Application for an Amendment To Application For Recordal, in Form No. 16, if you intend to amend a recordal application (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(iv) an Application for Address for Service, in Form 2A (see Patent Forms);

(v) a Power of Attorney, in Form 2B, authorizing us to prosecute the application for amendment before the Belize Intellectual Property Office (see Patent Forms). You must also pay the official fees of the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our attorney (agency) fee (see Patent Fees).


16. You Can Also Apply for A Recordal Of A Licence Contract Or Cancellation Of A Record Of A Licence-Contract Or Recordal Of A Transfer Of A Licence-Contract

You apply for a recordal of a licence-contract or cancellation of a record of a licence-contract or recordal of a transfer of a licence contract by filling the following forms:

(i) an Application For Registration of A Licence-Contract, in Form No.4 (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(ii) an Application To Cancel Record In Register Of A Licence-Contract, in Form No. 6A (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(iii) an Application To Record Transfer of Licence-Contract, in Form No. 6B (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form. You should attach a copy of the documents evidencing the transfer of the Licence-Contract, like the Deed of Transfer, and so on;

(iv) an Application for an Address of Service in Belize, in Form No. 2A (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(v) a Power of Attorney, in Form No. 2B, authorizing us to act on your behalf before the Belize Intellectual Property Office. You should also pay the official fees of the Belize Intellectual Property Office and our attorney (agency) fees (see Patent Fees).


17. You Can Apply For A Recordal Of A Sub-Licence Contract Or For The Cancellation Of A Record Of A Sub-Licence Contract Or For The Recordal Of A Transfer Of A Sub-Licence Contract

To apply for a recordal of a sub-licence contract or for the cancellation of a record of a sub-licence contract or for the recordal of a transfer of a sub-licence contract in respect of your patent, you must fill out the following forms:

(i) an Application to Record a Sub-Licence Contract, in Form No. 6C (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form. It is important to note that you should attach a copy of the Sub-Licence Contract to your application

(ii) an Application to cancel Record In Register of a Sub-Licence, in Form 6D (see Patent Forms, available on this website). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form;

(iii) an Application to Record a Transfer of a Sub-Licence Contract, in Form 6E (see Patent Forms). The instructions for filling out this form appear in the footnotes to the form. It is important to note that you should attach a copy of the documents evidencing the transfer, like the Deed of Transfer of the Sub-Licence Contract;

(iv) an Application for An Address For Service, in Form No 2A (see Patent Forms);

(v) an executed Power of Attorney, in Form No 2B (see Patent Forms). You must also pay the official fees of the Belize Intellectual Property Office, and our attorney (agency) fees (see Patent Fees).


18. The Belize Patents Act Also Allows The Registration Of Utility Models

A utility model is an invention which is different from a patent because it does not require an inventive step. The invention, however, must be new and capable of industrial application. Such types of inventions are registrable under the Patents Act, Chapter 253, as utility models. Upon registration, you obtain legal title in your invention through a Utility Model Certificate, which expires seven (7) years after the date of filing of the application, and which is non-renewable. To apply for a utility model certificate, you use the same forms required for the grant of a patent. You can convert the application for a utility model certificate into an application for the grant of a patent (or vice versa) at any time before the grant of the utility model certificate. You do not need to pay any annual renewal fees in order to maintain your rights in a registered utility model. (see section 22 and Part XII of the Patents Act, Chapter 253).

19. For All Matters Before The Belize Intellectual Property Office, You May Apply For An Extension of Time

To apply for an extension of time, you must swear to an affidavit (duly executed according to the laws of the country where you reside) stating the facts on which you rely in your application for an extension of time. You should contact us immediately and transmit the affidavit to us, to enable us to prosecute your request before the Belize Intellectual Property Office.

20. If You Have Any Other Questions Kindly Contact Us

You can do this by clicking on the “contact us” button on this website or click here.

Disclaimer
Whilst all reasonable and professional care was taken in the preparation of this website, we strongly advise you to seek our professional advice before relying on the information in this website. The information in this website should not be regarded as an authoritative and complete source of Belizean trademark law and practice. We disclaim all responsibility and liability if you rely on the information in this website without first seeking our advice.

The information on this website [and any attachments or weblinks thereto] is subject to a disclaimer that if you do not seek our professional legal advice, and do not act in accordance therewith, we will not be responsible in any way whatsoever for the information furnished, since Belizean intellectual property law, like all the other intellectual property legal regimes under the WTO, is continuously changing to meet the demands of the market place.

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