You’re an aspiring entrepreneur, and you are ready to showcase your invention to the world. You believe that you can make a difference and your invention could potentially benefit everyone around you, and possible generate some income at the same time. Nevertheless, you are anxious about the possibility of someone replicating your idea and profiting off of it before you get the opportunity to do so.
You then look towards professional assistance regarding this matter and you are told that you should file for a Patent application. However, you are still unfamiliar with the procedures and steps leading up to a Patent grant for your invention.
Here are 10 questions and supporting answers that will provide you with a clear picture on filing a Patent application in Laos.
1. When is the best time to file?
Laos applies the “First-to-file” principle, meaning that priority is determined by whoever files the patent or “petty” patent application first, or if priority is claimed, the earliest priority date. You will want to begin the process of filing your Patent in Laos as soon as possible and not make the invention public before filing the application. An application may contain a declaration claiming priority based on one or more earlier national, regional, or international applications filed by the applicant, whether in Laos or in another country, which is a part to the Paris Convention.
2. Are you prepared for the rigours of the process?
Unfortunately, obtaining a patent in Laos is not as direct and simple as just informing about your invention, signing off a piece of paper and walking away with a patent in hand. It may be long-winded and time constraining.
Before you get too far into the process, you need to know what to expect. It may take a long time, it is often confusing, and it may end up costing you more money than you initially planned.
If you know the product you’ve created is worth the rigorous process of obtaining a patent in Laos, then you are ready for the subsequent steps.
3. What is not eligible for a Patent in Laos?
The Laos’ Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) excludes certain types of inventions from patent protection, including:
- Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods.
- Schemes, rules, or methods for doing business, performing mental acts or playing games.
- Methods for treatment of the human or animal body.
- Inventions contrary to public order or national cultural morality.
- Plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plant or animals.
- Plant varieties.
- Pharmaceutical products as provided in Article 136 of the IP Law.
4. What are the conditions for filing a Patent application in Laos?
According to the IP Law set by the Laos Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), an invention shall be protected by mode of grant of invention patent or petty patent (also known as utility model) in Laos.
The following requirements have to be satisfied for it to be protected by mode of grant of invention patent:
- Your invention has to be new or novel
An invention is considered novel, if it has not existed and has not been disclosed to the public by publication or by use (or by any other means) in Laos or any other country prior to the filing date of the patent application, or prior to the priority date (if priority is claimed).
- The invention involves an inventive step
An invention is considered to involve an inventive step when the invention is not obvious to a person having ordinary knowledge in the invention’s field of technology.
- Your invention is considered industrially applicable
An invention is capable of industrial application if it can be implemented in the industry as described in the patent application. Keep in mind, your invention or idea will probably pass this requirement as it’s both applied loosely and the nature of an invention is to improve upon some product or process.
Unless it is common knowledge, an invention shall be protected by mode of grant of a petty patent when it satisfied the following conditions:
- Your invention has to be new or novel.
- Your invention is industrially applicable.
5. Will I have to do a patent search for my invention?
Yes. It is very important to conduct a patent search prior to filing a patent in Laos in order to avoid any overlap of previous inventions which will nullify the novelty of your invention.
The search process will provide any prior inventions that may have similarities with your invention, and supplies you with the possibility of differentiating your invention from the prior inventions.
In some cases, you may wish to provide further improvements or enhancements to your invention which would possibly grant you a higher chance at fulfilling the novelty criteria.
6. Am I allowed to manage or perform my own patent search?
Generally speaking, yes you may. However, here are some reasons why you should not do so.
A person who isn’t a professional may not be able to understand the results of a search, or they may not be able to conduct the search as thoroughly as necessary.
It is essential that you seek for the help of a reputable IP firm to ensure you’re following all the necessary procedures and can afford you with the necessary advice to enhance your patent application in Laos in order for you to get approval of said Patent as quickly as possible.
7. What language can I use to file my Patent application?
The application can be filed in either English or Lao. However, application documents submitted in English must be translated into Lao within 90 days from the application filing date. The translation must also be certified to be a correct translation.
8. How long does legal protection of a Patent in Laos last?
A patent lasts for 20 years after the filing date of the application. A petty patent lasts 10 years from the filing date of the application. Kindly note that in order to maintain a patent or a petty patent registration, an annual fee, pursuant to the IP law, must be paid in advance by the rights-holder.
9. How long does a Patent application in Laos take before it is granted?
The time it usually takes from filing date to granting date is approximately 4 to 5 years (for patents) and 2 to 3 years (for petty patents).
10. What should you consider before filing for a Patent in Laos?
Now that you have a better idea of what’s involved in obtaining Patents in Laos, there are a few serious things to think about before you jump into the process.
- The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) announced a memorandum of understanding signed in 2018 to further IP cooperation between China and Laos under the Belt and Road Initiative and China-ASEAN IP cooperation, patent applicants who own valid Chinese patents may also request accelerated eligibility for grant decisions on Laos patent applications.
- Holding a patent may give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace, especially when it comes to negotiation, marketing and fund-raising.
- Your patent could be rejected. If your patent application is not approved for some reason, you will lose the money you have invested up to that point. (The main reason patents usually get rejected is because they lack an innovation factor)
- Once all the fees and expenses have been totalled, it can be a relatively expensive process.
Get professional and expert help to file your patent in Laos. The 10 questions we’ve address have given you a lot to think about. As a result, it is pivotal for you to take the time to weigh in all the pros and cons before you get too deep into the process and lose valuable money and time.
Seek the services of a reputable IP firm like Pintas Consulting Group to help you through the patent process in Laos.