AMENDMENTS TO THE INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY ACT
Last month several amendments were made to the Industrial Property Act (the IPA) via the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Act of 2018.
Of these amendments, several have implications for Intellectual Property owners. These include amendments to sections 29, 86 and 87 of the IPA.
First, patent disclosure requirements for living matters is now easier. Thanks to new provisions in section 29, an applicant for a patent relating to living matter will only need to deposit a culture of the micro-organism with a depository institution as prescribed by the regulations in the IPA. The applicant no longer needs to include information on the characteristics of the micro-organism, the specifications of the institution or the filing number of the culture. This amendment makes it easier and cheaper for applicants as it eliminates the technicalities involved in describing the micro-organisms.
The second and third amendments in the IPA relate to industrial designs. The amendment to Section 86 broadens the definition of ‘newness’ in industrial designs. Previously, the IPA stated that an industrial design was new if it had not been disclosed to the public anywhere in the world. The new provision introduces the stipulation that an industrial design must not be “identical or substantially similar” to any other industrial design that has been disclosed anywhere in the world. Accordingly, an industrial design application must demonstrate absolute novelty in order for an applicant to meet the updated ‘newness’ definition.
The last amendment eases the requirements in filing an industrial design application. Applicants no longer need to produce a specimen of the article embodying the industrial design. A graphical representation of the article, without an accompanying specimen, is now sufficient under the updated Section 87. This is a welcome amendment as it eliminates the costly exercise of obtaining specimens which, in turn, means a reduction in the time needed to process industrial design applications.
In our view, the three amendments highlighted above provide certainty for applicants while also easing their burden in making applications in a few cases.