Filing an application
Patents in Kenya are granted for inventions that are new and non-obvious, and can be used in any kind of industry.
The patenting process begins with the filing of Form IP3 with the Kenya Industrial Property Institute. The requirements in filing the application are:
- a request made through Form IP3;
- a description;
- one or more claims;
- one or more drawings (where necessary); and
- an abstract.
The request contains the title and the particulars of the applicant or inventor (or both).
The description discloses the invention and at least one mode for carrying it out or applying it. This must be presented in sufficiently full, clear, concise and exact terms to enable a person with ordinary skill in the art to make use of and evaluate the invention.
The description must state:
- the title of the invention;
- the technical field to which the invention relates;
- the background art which, as far as the applicant knows, can be regarded as useful for understanding and examining the invention; and
- an indication of the invention's industrial applicability.
The claim defines the features of the patent for which protection is sought. It should be clear, concise and fully supported by the description. In defining the matter for which protection is sought, a claim should set out:
- the technical features which are necessary to define the subject matter of the invention, but which are part of the prior art; and
- the technical features which, in combination with the features referred to above, define the features for which protection is sought.
If there are drawings of the invention, these should be provided with the application.
The abstract – a maximum of 150 words – consists of technical information; it is not taken into account in interpreting the scope of the protection that the applicant is seeking. It should include the title of the invention and a summary of the disclosure included in the description. The summary indicates the technical field to which the invention relates and the invention's principal use or uses.
The abstract should be drafted in such a way that it can be used to undertake an efficient search of the relevant technical field. It should be possible for the reader of the abstract to assess whether the description should be consulted.
The institute will establish whether the applicant has complied with the legal requirements for filing an application. If so, the application will proceed to substantive examination. If not, the applicant is invited to amend the application.
The patent cannot be officially published until 18 months after the filing date. This gives formal notice of the application.
This will usually involve a determination of whether the patent is new and non-obvious, and whether it can be applied in industry. An application for substantive examination must be made within three years of the initial application being filed.
Approval or rejection
If the approval meets all the requirements, it will be granted; if it does not, it will be rejected. In the event of rejection, the applicant may object.
If the rejection is appealed, the examiner will reconsider the application. The examiner may then issue an approval, a call for further objections or a rejection. If the final decision is a rejection, this is open to appeal.
A basic and timely application, without amendments or more complex issues being raised, will incur the following costs:
- application fee – $150;
- request for amendment – $100;
- publication fee – $150;
- request for substantive examination – $250; and
- patent grant fee – $150.
Annual fees are also payable for the 20-year period for which a patent is granted. These fees range from $300 to $2,500, depending on renewal.
As regards legal fees, the Advocates (Remuneration) (Amendment) Order 2009 sets the minimum fee for professional services. In this case the professional service fee is determined by the order and by the quantity and complexity of the work involved.
For further information on this topic please contact Anthony Gakuru at Njoroge Regeru & Company by telephone (+254 20 271 8482), fax (+254 20 271 8485) or email ([email protected]).