On the 30th of July 2019, the Mauritius Parliament approved and passed the Industrial Property Bill 2019. This Act has been designed to update and strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights. At the same time, it is going to harmonise the current legislation to meet with the challenges of globalised industry. It consolidates all industrial property‒related issues in one statute.
The framework for the protection of the Act is divided into the following five different sections:
Patent, Utility Models, Patent Cooperation Treaty
- “Computer programmes” and “known substances for which a new use has been discovered and not applicable to the use itself, where they constitute a patentable invention” have been added to the existing list of matters to be excluded from patent protection.
- The Act introduces the registration of utility models.
- The new Act has made provision for the filing of patent applications under the PCT. The process of accession to the treaty will be initiated by the Government of Mauritius in due course.
Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits
- The existing legislation provided for the filing of layout-designs. However, this part of the 2002 Act has never been proclaimed. The new Act has again provided for registration of layout-designs under sections 42 to 50.
Protection of New Plant Varieties
- The Act introduces the protection of breeder’s right under section 51 to 72
Industrial Designs governed by the Hague Agreement
- Registration of an industrial design may be valid for 20 years from the date of filing compared to 15 years currently.
- The Act has made provision for the international filing of industrial designs under the Hague Agreement. The process of accession to the treaty will be initiated by the Government of Mauritius in due course.
Marks, Trade Names, Geographical Indications, Madrid Protocol
- In the case of honest concurrent use, or of other circumstances, the registration of a mark by more than one owner may be allowed, subject to such conditions and limitations as the Authority may determine.
- The prior user of a mark that is neither registered nor the subject of a pending application, may oppose an application for registration by another person of a similar mark for similar goods or services, where he submits evidence of prior use.
- Application for the registration of a certification mark will be possible and shall be accompanied by a copy of the agreement governing the use of the mark.
- The new Act makes provision for registration of geographical indications under sections 105 to 114.
- The Act has made provision for the international filing of trade marks under the Madrid Protocol. The process of accession to the Protocol will be initiated by the Government of Mauritius.
Formation of Intellectual Property Council
The Industrial Property Act 2019 has also made provision for the formation of an Intellectual Property Council. This is an independent overarching institution in Mauritius that looks at all issues related to Intellectual Property. It is going to be made up of representatives from several departments that are involved in the generation, enforcement, and protection of IP assets and portfolio services. The Council shall advise the Minister on matters related to Intellectual Property and ensure coordination among the public and private sectors in the formulation of intellectual property policies and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that this Act will be enforced on a date to be fixed by proclamation. For more information, contact one of our agents.