THE ACCESSION OF MAURITIUS TO THE PATENT COOPERATION TREATY: A STEP FORWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL PATENT PROTECTION
The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent law treaty concluded in 1970 that enables applicants to seek international patent protection for their inventions in each of its contracting states. The main advantage of the PCT is that it allows the filing of a single patent application, thereby replacing the requirement to file separate applications in each country in which the applicant is seeking patent protection.
The Republic of Mauritius has enacted the Industrial Property Act 2019 (Act), which came into force on 31 January 2022, with the aims of:
- modernising and consolidating the industrial property framework;
- facilitating the registration of industrial property rights; and
- promoting research, innovation, investment and economic growth in the country.
The Act extends coverage to additional industrial property rights such as utility models, layout designs, breeder’s rights and geographical indications.
When the Act came into force, there were provisions made in the Act to recognise international applications through the PCT system, but the PCT was not yet in force in the Republic of Mauritius. Until now, Mauritius was one of the few countries in Africa that had not joined the PCT. However, the Government of Mauritius deposited its instrument to the accession to the PCT on 15 December 2022, and Mauritius has now become the 157th Contracting State of the PCT. The PCT will enter into force, with respect to the Republic of Mauritius, on 15 March 2023.
As from 15 March 2023, applicants and inventors in Mauritius will be able to file patent applications under the PCT in order to obtain patent protection in PCT Contracting States. In the same vein, foreign innovators and companies will now be able to use the PCT System to seek patent protection for their inventions in Mauritius.
Undoubtedly, the accession of the Republic of Mauritius to the PCT will bring a new dimension to the Mauritian intellectual property industry, and will create a positive impact in the Mauritian business eco-system.