REGISTRATION OF A PATENT IN TANZANIA

A Patent may be referred to as a legal right granted by the Government to an inventor for an invention. An invention is a solution to a technical problem existing in a particular field of technology. Registration of patent in Tanzania implies the entire contents of a patent description of an invention that form the basis for an application for Patent right  that is referred to as a “patent document”.

Registration of a patent in Tanzania is also necessarily to include the term of grant of a patent application that is twenty (20) years counted from its filing date. After the expiry of 20 years a patent falls into the public domain upon which anyone who is interested can use it freely. The process of Registration of a  patent in Tanzania involves the Patent application filed with the Competent Authority designated as such by the relevant Sovereign State. It is usually a Government department or an Agency as the case may be. In other words powers to grant patents are vested upon the Registrar of Patents or such name as preferred by the Government of the respective Sovereign State.

Registration of a patent in Tanzania is done through filing form No. P.2 accompanied by a patent document in triplicate and submitted to the Registrar of Patents with Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (BRELA). An Applicant for patent rights may be a natural or legal person who shall file such an application with the Registrar of Patents with BRELA.

It is important to know that, in the registration of patent a in Tanzania , the patent document has to contain; the title for an invention, the general description of an invention, the claim(s), an abstract, and technical drawings (if any).

When talking of registration of patents in Tanzania one must think of the necessary criteria required in the patent grant. These criteria are; novelty that is an invention must be new for it to be patentable, invention step which connotes that an invention is patentable if is beyond obvious, and industrial applicability which implies that an invention shall be capable of being industrially workable to be patented.

Sections 18 to 30 of The Patents (Registration) Act, Cap 217 provides for grant of patent in Tanzania. Every application for grant of a patent in Tanzania shall be made to the Registrar and shall contain; a request which  shall  state the name of and other prescribed data concerning the applicant, the inventor and the agent if any, and the title of the invention, description, one or more claims, one or more drawings (where necessary), and an abstract

Where the person applying does not ordinarily reside in the United Republic or the principal place of his business is outside the United Republic he shall be represented by an agent.  The appointment of an agent shall be indicated by designation of the agent in the request or by the furnishing of a power of attorney signed by the person making the application.

The description shall disclose the invention in a manner which is sufficiently clear and complete for the invention to be evaluated and to be carried out, by a person skilled in the art, and shall, in particular, indicate the best mode known to the person making the application for carrying out the invention, and shall include any drawing which is essential for the understanding of the invention.

The claim shall define the matter for which protection is sought; shall be clear and concise and shall be fully supported by the description. On the other hand the abstract shall serve as technical information; but shall not be taken into account for the purpose of interpreting the scope of the protection sought.

However, the details of the requirements with which the application must comply shall be prescribed by regulations made under the Patents (Registration) Act, Cap 217.

Section 28 of the Patents (Registration) Act, Cap 217 provides that unless the application has been rejected under section 25 or 26 or a patent has been refused under section 24 a patent shall be granted and issued to the person making the application in the form specified in these regulations. Any patent granted shall be registered in the register.  Any patent granted shall be published as soon as possible by the Registrar as provided in the regulations.

Therefore, it is important for the patent(s) to be registered because registration gives the owner of the patent the exclusive right to use such patent and therefore being prevented from and to recover damages resulting from infringement of unregistered. The patent owner is having various rights as provided for under section 36 of The Patents (Registration) Act Cap 217 to the extent of being able to preclude any person from exploiting his or her patented invention in various acts such as sale, and selling the products etc.