- Commenced on 1 April 1958
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Patents Act.
Part I – Administration
3. Establishment of Patent OfficeThere shall be established under the direction of the Minister an office to be called the Patent Office.
4. Appointment of officersThe Minister shall appoint—
5. SealThere shall be a seal of the Patent Office, and impressions thereof shall be judicially noticed.
6. Register of patents
Part II – International provisions
7. Convention arrangementsIf Malawi accedes to the Convention and any revision thereof as a country of the Union for the Protection of Industrial Property constituted thereunder, the Minister shall, by notice in the Gazette, declare that Malawi has become such a country with effect from the date stated in such notice.
8. Convention applications
9. Special provisions as to vessels, aircraft and land vehicles
10. Protection of inventions communicated under international agreements
10A. Patents granted under the Protocol
Part III – Applications generally
11. Persons entitled to make applicationApplication for a patent for an invention may be made by any of the following persons, that is to say—
12. Form of application
13. Complete and provisional specifications
14. Contents of specification
15. Effective date of claims of complete specification
16. Examination of applications and specifications
17. Ante-dating and post-dating of applications
18. Refusal of application in certain cases
19. Powers of Registrar if specification or application defective
20. Lapsing of applications
21. Acceptance and publication of complete specification
22. Opposition to grant of patent
23. Substitution of applicants
24. Provisions for secrecy of certain inventions
Part IV – Grant, effect and term of patent
25. Grant and sealing of patent
26. Amendment of patent granted to deceased applicantWhere, at any time after a patent has been sealed in pursuance of an application under this Act, the Registrar is satisfied that the person to whom the patent was granted had died, or, in the case of a body corporate, had ceased to exist, before the patent was sealed, he may amend the patent by substituting for the name of that person the name of the person entitled thereto according to law, and the patent shall have effect, and shall be deemed always to have had effect, accordingly.
27. Date of patent
28. Extent, effect and form of patent
29. Term of patentThe term of every patent shall, subject to this Act, be sixteen years from the date of lodging the complete specification in the Patent Office.
30. Extension of patent
31. Patents of addition
32. Renewal of patents
33. Restoration of lapsed patents
34. Protective provisions to be inserted in order for restoration of patentIn every order restoring a lapsed patent made under section 33, there shall be inserted for the protection of persons who may have availed themselves of the subject-matter of the patent after a lapse of a period of three months from the date on which the renewal fee was due, the following provisions, namely, that the patentee shall not commence or prosecute any action or other proceedings or recover damages—
35. Endorsement of patent “licences of right”
36. Cancellation of endorsement made under section 35
37. Compulsory licence in case of abuse or insufficient use of patent rights
38. Inventions relating to food or certain other commodities
39. Supplementary provisions as to licences
40. Use of patented inventions for services of the Government
41. Special provisions as to Government use during emergency
42. Reference of disputes as to Government use
Part V – Special provisions relating to specifications, anticipation and rights in inventions
43. Amendment of specification by Registrar
44. Amendment of specification with leave of Court, or Patents TribunalIn any action for infringement of a patent or any proceedings before the Patents Tribunal for the revocation of a patent, the Court or the Patents Tribunal, as the case may be, may, subject to section 43 (3), allow the patentee to amend his complete specification in such manner and subject to such terms as to costs, advertisement or otherwise as the Court or the Patents Tribunal may think fit, and, if in any such proceedings for revocation the Patents Tribunal decides that the patent is invalid, it may allow the specification to be amended under this section instead of revoking the patent.
45. Restrictions on recovery of damages in certain casesWhere an amendment of a specification by way of disclaimer, correction or explanation has been allowed under this Act after the publication of the specification, no damages shall be awarded in any proceedings in respect of the use of the invention before the date of the decision allowing the amendment, unless the Court or the Patents Tribunal is satisfied that the specification as originally published was framed in good faith and with reasonable skill and knowledge.
46. Savings for anticipation
47. Co-ownership of patents
48. Disputes as to inventions made by employees
49. Avoidance of certain restrictive conditions in contracts
50. Revocation of patents
51. Consequences of revocation on grounds of fraud
52. Surrender of patents
Part VI – Infringements
53. Procedure and conditions in action for infringement
54. Relief for infringement of partially valid specification
55. Resections of recovery of damages for infringement
56. Remedy for groundless threats of infringement proceedings
57. Power of Court to make declaration as to non-infringement
Part VII – Assignments and corrections
58. Provisions as to assignments
59. Power of Registrar to authorize corrections
60. Rectification of register
Part VIII – Functions of Registrar in relation to certain evidence, documents and powers
61. Evidence of certain entries and documents
62. Requests for information as to patent or patent applicationThe Registrar shall, on the request of any person and on payment of the prescribed fee, furnish copies of any documents which are open to public inspection and which are lodged at the Patent Office or particulars from the register, or furnish a certificate in respect thereof.
63. Loss or destruction of patentWhere the Registrar is satisfied that a patent has been lost or destroyed or cannot be produced, he may at any time cause a duplicate thereof to be sealed on payment of such fees as may be prescribed.
64. Exercise of discretionary powers of Registrar
65. Proceedings before Registrar
66. Advertisements to be approved by RegistrarNo advertisement or notice, other than a notice issued under the authority of the Minister, shall be published by any person under this Act unless it is in the prescribed form and the Registrar has approved the contents of such advertisement or notice, and no advertisement or notice which has not been so approved shall have any force or effect for the purposes of this Act.
Part IX – Patent agents
67. Patent agents and their functions
68. Qualification and registration of patent agents
69. Removal of names from register of patent agents
70. Privileges of legal practitionersEvery person entitled to practise as a legal practitioner may practise as a patent agent and perform the functions set out in section 67 without being registered as a patent agent, but no such person shall be entitled to be so registered except under section 68.
71. Entitlement to practise as patent agent
72. Prohibition of certain acts by patent agents
Part X – Patents Tribunal and appeals
73. Appeals from RegistrarWhere this Act provides for appeals from decisions of the Registrar, all such appeals shall be made to the Patents Tribunal in accordance with this Part.
74. Patents Tribunal
75. General powers of Patents Tribunal
76. Right of audienceIn any proceedings before the Patents Tribunal under this Act the parties to such proceedings may appear in person or be represented and appear by a legal practitioner and, in any case where the Patents Tribunal deems fit, it may grant leave to the Registrar to intervene and he may thereafter appear or be so represented.
77. Costs and security for costs
78. Appeals to High Court
79. AssessorsThe Patents Tribunal may appoint any person with special expert knowledge to act as an assessor in an advisory capacity in any case where it appears to such Tribunal that such knowledge is required for the proper determination of the case.
80. Time for appeals
81. RulesThe Minister may make rules for regulating generally the practice and procedure of the Patents Tribunal and with respect to appeals or references to such Tribunal as to the time within which any requirement of the rules is to be complied with, as to the costs and expenses of and incidental to any proceedings in such Tribunal, as to the fees to be charged in respect of proceedings therein, as to the fees to be paid to assessors, and in particular may make rules providing for the summary determination of any appeal which appears to the Patents Tribunal to be frivolous or vexatious or to be brought for the purpose of delay.
82. References to Patents Tribunal by Registrar
Part XI – Offences and penalties
83. Falsification of certain documentsIf any person makes or causes to be made a false entry in any register kept under this Act, or a writing falsely purporting to be a copy of an entry in any such register, or produces or tenders or causes to be produced or tendered in evidence any such writing, knowing the entry or writing to be false, he shall be guilty of an offence.
84. Deceiving or influencing the Registrar or an officer
85. Witness giving false evidenceAny person who, after having been sworn, or having in lieu thereof made an affirmation or declaration, wilfully gives false evidence before the Registrar or the Patents Tribunal concerning the subject-matter of the proceeding in question, knowing such evidence to be false or not knowing or believing it to be true, shall be guilty of an offence.
86. Prohibition on trafficking in patents by officers in Patent Office
87. Unauthorized claim for patent rightIf any person falsely represents that any article sold by him is a patented article, he shall be guilty of an offence, and for the purposes of this provision a person who sells an article having stamped, engraved or embossed thereon or otherwise applied thereto the word “patent” or “patented” or any other word expressing or implying that the article is patented, shall be deemed to represent that the article is a patented article.
88. Unauthorized use of certain wordsIf any person other than a person appointed in terms of section 4 uses on his place of business, or on any document issued by him, or otherwise, the words “Patent Office” or any other words suggesting that his place of business is, or is officially connected with, the Patent Office, he shall be guilty of an offence.
89. PenaltiesAny person who is guilty of an offence under this Act shall be liable to a fine of £500 and to imprisonment for three years.
Part XII – Miscellaneous
90. Lodging and authentication of documents
91. Oaths and affirmationsAny person who is required under this Act to take any oath or swear to the truth of any affidavit may, in lieu thereof, make an affirmation or declaration in accordance with the law relating to affirmations or declarations.
92. Expenses of administrationAll moneys necessary for the purpose of this Act shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament.
93. Provisions as to fees
94. Saving for certain forfeituresNothing in this Act shall affect the right of the Government or of any person deriving title directly or indirectly from the Government to sell or use articles forfeited to the Government under any enactment in force in Malawi.
95. Patent Journal
96. Power to make regulations
Part XIII – Application
97. Application of ActAny patent which immediately before the 1st January, 1964, was registered in Malawi under any enactment relating to patents and was protected under the former patents legislation and any patent which immediately before the commencement of the said legislation was registered in the United Kingdom under any agreement relating to patents and was protected in Malawi under the Registration of Patents Ordinance (now repealed) shall be deemed to be registered under this Act and shall be protected under this Act while it would have been protected in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland or in the United Kingdom as the case may be:[21 of 1932]Provided that—
History of this document
01 April 1958