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Frequently Asked Questions

A patent is a monopoly right that provides you (the patentee) with the exclusive use of your invention for 15 years with a right to renew it for a further period of 5 years. It is a valuable business asset that can be bought, sold, transferred or licensed like any other property.

No. You are not legally required to patent your invention before you use it. You may decide that it is better to keep your invention secret and not publish the details. There are however, benefits from gaining patent protection. If your invention is protected by a patent:

you have exclusive rights to use and license your invention
you can take legal action against anyone who tries to use your invention without your consent
you will deter or discourage others from infringing your intellectual property.

A patent may be granted for:

a new product
the manufacture of a new product
an improvement to an existing product or process
a new method or process relating to the testing or control of an existing manufacturing process *
new chemical compounds or compositions
biotechnological matter
electrical devices and circuits
computer technology
The scope of patents is large and the above list is by no means exhaustive.

No. Not all inventions will qualify for a patent. Your invention must meet certain criteria to be patentable. It must: *

be industrially applicable, ie. able to be made or used in some kind of industry *
contain an inventive element or be ‘non-obvious’, ie. your invention cannot be a product or process already known, nor can it be two or more products or processes put together with no new effect
be new or novel
If your invention has already been used, displayed or otherwise made available in Barbados or if it has been described in any public document (eg. an overseas patent document available in Barbados, a scientific journal or similar) you will not be able to patent it.

Patent documents are an invaluable reference for the inventor or developer. Patents contain information on the latest innovations and are a critical resource when assessing the originality of an invention.

Before you apply for a patent it is advisable to determine whether or not a similar invention has already been developed or published. Checking overseas patents available in Barbados as well as Barbados patents, can alert you to the possibility that your invention may infringe someone else’s patent, should you try to use or continue developing it. As well as searching existing and previous patents, you should make a point of searching any relevant journals, magazines or textbooks. They may reveal a similar invention.

Corporate Affairs and Intellectual property Office Visit our Office in Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael to access the complete range of information on Barbados patents and a considerable amount of information on overseas patents.
The Internet If you’re interested in looking at overseas patents, a number of useful patent databases from various countries are available on-line. For example: http://ep.espacenet.com, http://www.uspto.gov, http://www.patent.gov.uk

You must send an application to the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office and pay the required fee (see Fees page). You can also print out an application form from the Forms page.

A patent application is called a Petition (see Forms) and is a detailed description of your invention.

The Petition should contain enough technical details about how your invention works, to enable a competent technician to put it into effect.

Detailed drawings of the invention are often required to represent it properly. Your Petition must end with a “claim” or “claims” that define the scope of your invention.

A patent is granted on the basis of these claims and they define the monopoly you are granted. It is important, therefore, to ensure your claims are worded carefully.

Yes. Your patent can be ‘surrendered’.

The owner of a patent may surrender the patent by submitting to the Director a surrender in writing of that patent.

At any time during the 20-year term of your patent, anyone may apply to the High Court for ‘invalidation’ of your patent. If their reasons are valid, your patent can be invalidated. You have the right to defend the granting of your patent if someone applies for invalidation.

Your patent will last for 20 years from the date we received your Petition, providing you pay the renewal fees. Renewal fees are due at the end of the 2nd year of the filing of the Petition and at the end of every year thereafter.

No. Your patent will only protect you against infringement in Barbados.

If you want to protect your invention overseas, there are two options available: Apply directly to the Patent Office in the countries of interest. This is often a more cost-effective method if you are seeking protection in only a few countries. We can supply you with the contact details for overseas offices, but cannot assist you with your applications.
Make an application under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT). This is appropriate if you are seeking a broad international coverage.
A PCT application can simplify the process of seeking a patent in countries that are party to the Patent Co-operation Treaty. Under the PCT system you can make a single international application to cover as many of the member countries you’d like.

Patents granted under the PCT system are not “world- wide patents” -there is no such thing. Your application will still need to be examined by the individual countries you select and it will still have to meet their requirements. After you make a PCT application, an international search is carried out to determine whether or not your invention is already patented or known.

The results of this international search are sent to you. This can help you decide whether you wish to proceed with your overseas applications or not. You must apply overseas within 12 months of your initial application in Barbados, and only those countries party to the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) or are members of the World Trade Organization will consider your application.

Similarly, if you have applied for patents in overseas countries in the last 12 months, the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office will consider your application under the Convention.

Yes. A patent is a valuable business asset and you can sell or license it like any other property. A Licence-Contract must be in writing, signed by the parties to the contract and registered at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office.

Licence-Contracts must be in the English language or if it is in a foreign language, a certified copy of a translation duly endorsed by the agent must be submitted with an application for registration. For legal advice, we recommend you contact a patent attorney or a lawyer familiar with patent law.

All matters dealt with on this website are handled in more detail by officers at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office, Ground Floor, Baobab Towers, Warrens Industrial Estate, St. Michael, BARBADOS.

A registered industrial design applies to the outward appearance of an article whereas a patent is concerned with the function, operation, manufacture or material of construction of an article. Registration of an industrial design does not give the owner any statutory assurance of the validity of the design.

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