The thought of patenting your new technological invention, device or substance to prevent others from producing, creating or selling the original version is essential for any individual or group in any country. A patent is a legal right approved by the government for protecting an invention from public misuse.In Kenya, Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) issue patent rights and are entitled to examine and grant patents.
Process of obtaining a patent in Kenya
To acquire a patent right, first file an application referred to as IP3, which can be downloaded from KIPI website (www.kipi.go.ke). KIPI will determine whether the patent is patentable. Thus it is important that a product or invention not to be disclosed to the public before the patent is filed.
The application should outline full description of the invention, characteristics of the invention and the state scope of patent rights. In the case where one intends to sell the products overseas, it will be vital to put into consideration whether to get patents from overseas.
KIPI is required to assess the patent application to ensure that it meets the needs of the Industrial Property Act 200. Thus, the applicant must request within three years for the patent application to be examined.
In the course of examination, the institute, informs the applicant of any deficiencies and gives the applicant the chance to amend the application. The problems could be that the invention is not new, the invention already exists or the patent doesn’t describe the invention properly.
Once the institute is satisfied that the deficiencies have been corrected, the application is accepted and a patent certificate is given.
Patent costs vary from case to case and increase significantly if the applicant seeks patents from overseas. In Kenya, filing an application costs is Ksh 3,000 due once the application is filed. Then publication fee is Ksh 3,000 due after 18 months from the filing date, examination fee costs Ksh 5,000 due within three years from filing date and grant fee of Ksh 3,000 due once the patent has been accepted for grant.
The term of patent in Kenya is 20 years. It is not renewable and once the term expires the invention is no longer protected and can be used by anyone. Therefore, one has to ensure that the patent is renewed every year for the entire duration of protection and if not the rights lapse.
Patent protection is important as it saves time and money duplicating work done by other people, helps one to recognize technology placed in the public domain , keeps one on the lookout on the emerging technological trends and rising key players.
Lastly, helps one to avoid infringing someone else work.