1. What are the major enactments governing the registration and protection of Patents in Ghana?
- Patent Act, 2003 (Act 657), entry into force (Gazette Notification)31st December, 2003. (Implementing Regulations are yet to be promulgated).
- Patent Regulations, 1996 (L.I. 1616).
2. What are the main international treaties signed by the Republic of Ghana in respect of Patents?
- Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since June 12, 1976.
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act of July 14, 1967 (Paris Convention), since September 28, 1976.
- World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Right (TRIPS) Agreement, since January 1, 1995.
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since February 26, 1997 (Chapters I and II).
- ARIPO, Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs, since April 25, 1984.
3. Who can apply for Patent registration in Ghana?
- An inventor or his legal successor or assignee. Applicants not resident or not having its principal place of business in Ghana must be represented by a legal practitioner resident and practicing in Ghana.
4. Do Patent applications in Ghana require naming the inventor?
- Yes. Naming the inventor is compulsory unless the inventor does not wish to be named, in which case a special written declaration must be addressed to the Registrar.
5. What are the exceptions to Patent protection in Ghana?
- Discoveries; scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- Plants and animals other than microorganisms or biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than microbiological processes;
- Schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games;
- Methods of treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods, this provision not applying to products for use in any of these methods:
o the protection of human, animal or plant life or health; or
o the avoidance of serious prejudice to the environment; if the exclusion is not made because the exploitation is prohibited.
- Plant varieties;
- Inventions the commercial exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or morality.
- Plants and animals other than micro-organisms;
- Biological processes for the protection of plants or animals other than non-biological
- Micro-biological processes.
6. What are Patentable inventions in Ghana?
- An invention is patentable if it is new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable. An invention is new if it is not anticipated by a prior art.
- Prior art shall consist of everything disclosed to the public, anywhere in the world by:
o publication in tangible form or by oral disclosure; or o by use or in any other way prior to the filing or, where appropriate, the priority date, of the application claiming the invention.
- There is a universal novelty with a twelve-month grace period for non-prejudicial disclosures.
7. How is priority right claimed for Patent applications in Ghana?
Priority may be claimed as provided for in the Paris Convention, for one or more earlier national, regional or international application filed by the applicant or his predecessor in title or for any state party to the Paris Convention or any member of the WTO.
8. What are the main requirements for filing Patent applications in Ghana?
The following information should be made available to the resident agent (legal attorney) in Ghana:
- Power of attorney, no notarization or legalization is required;
- Specification in English with claims and abstract fully supported by a description;
- Drawings, if necessary for the understanding of the invention;
- If priority is claimed, indication of country date and file number of basic foreign application;
- Full name and address of inventor(s), if to be mentioned.
PCT international applications may be filed in accordance with the Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) adopted in Washington on 19th June, 1970 and the regulations made thereunder in which case the Registrar's Office in Ghana shall serve as a receiving Office. Time limit for entering into the national phase is thirty (30) months for both Chapters I and II.
9. What are the examination procedures for Patent applications?
The patent is examined as to form and as to substance. At the end of the examination, if successful, the patent is granted and a certificate of grant and a copy of the patent is issued to the applicant. A reference to the grant is published by the Registrar in the prescribed manner.
10. Can a Patent application be amended?
The applicant may amend the application provided that the amendment does not go beyond the disclosure in the original application.
11. Is there any right of appeal to the decision of the Registrar?
The applicant may appeal to the High Court against any decision by the Registrar.
12. What is the term of protection for Patent in Ghana?
The term of protection for patent is twenty (20) years from the filing date of the application.
13. What are the requirement for annuities?
In order to maintain an application or a patent, an annual fee is to be paid, starting one year after the filing date of the application. A six (6) months grace period is allowed subject to the payment of a surcharge.
14. Can a Patented invention be invalidated in Ghana?
Yes. Any interested party may in proceedings instituted by him against the owner of a patent, request the court to invalidate the patent.
15. Are there any rules on exploitations of Patent by the government of Ghana?
Yes. Based on public interest, in particular, national security, health or the development of other vital sectors of the economy or to remedy a practice determined by a judicial or administrative body to be anti-competitive, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice may decide that the patented invention, even in the absence of the authorization of the owner of the patent, be exploited by a government agency or by a third person designated by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, subject to specific conditions.