Anyone who has filed a patent in Angola will tell you that it can take a very long time for a patent to grant in this jurisdiction. In fact, in some cases, patent applications have been known to remain pending for so long so that by the time the patent is “granted” it is very close to its expiry. Apart from the general problems that face most registries in Africa (including lack of resources, staff and training) part of the problem in Angola is that very few patents have been published in the past 3-4 years so there is a large backlog of applications which need to be published before they can proceed to grant.
It seems that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. We visited the Angolan patent office last month and met with the Director General as well as various officials including the Head of the Patent Department. We were advised that the Angolan Patent Office will be publishing a special edition of the Journal in March which will include 1500 pending patent applications. Although the publication (or lack thereof) is only one of the many problems, we are encouraged to see that at least IAPI recognises there is a problem and is trying to do something about it. We remain hopeful that this signifies a change in fortunes for patent proprietors in Angola.