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Patentability

What are the criteria for patentability in your jurisdiction?

To be patentable, inventions must:

  • be novel
  • imply an inventive step
  • be susceptible of industrial application.

A patent must describe the invention in a manner that is sufficiently clear and complete for it to be performed by a person skilled in the art. The patent’s subject matter must not extend beyond the content of the application as filed. 

What are the limits on patentability?

The following are not considered inventions and therefore cannot be patented:

  • discoveries;
  • scientific theories and mathematical methods;
  • aesthetic creations;
  • schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business;
  • presentations of information; and
  • computer programs.

In addition, the following cannot be patented:

  • surgical or therapeutic treatment methods for humans or animals and diagnostic methods practised on humans or animals;
  • inventions of which the commercial exploitation would contravene human dignity, public policy or morality;
  • different stages of human formation and development;
  • animal breeds; and
  • plant varieties.

To what extent can inventions covering software be patented?

Software can be patented on the condition that the patent does not relate to the software as such and is defined by a succession of logical operations that have a technical application.

To what extent can inventions covering business methods be patented?

Business methods are expressly non-patentable. However, like computer programs, business methods can be patented if the patent does not relate to the business method as such and the invention involves a technical contribution.

To what extent can inventions relating to stem cells be patented?

The following stages of human formation and development cannot be patented:

  • the discovery of a total or partial gene sequence;
  • cloning;
  • genetic identity modification;
  • use of embryos for industrial or commercial use; and
  • total or partial sequences of genes per se.

Are there restrictions on any other kinds of invention?

There are restrictions on the following kinds of invention:

  • surgical or therapeutic treatment methods for humans or animals and diagnostic methods practised on humans or animals;
  • inventions of which the commercial exploitation would contravene human dignity, public policy or morality;
  • animal breeds; and
  • plant varieties.

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