On April 2 1998, the House of Representatives passed the new Patent Law 16(1)/98. The main provisions of the new law which are significantly different from the old law are as follows:
- It provides for the establishment of an independent local authority for the registration of patents and for a direct patent application in Cyprus.
- The patents granted under the European Patent Convention or the International Cooperation Treaty will be recognized in Cyprus.
- Patents are published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, giving any person the right to object to it.
- The lifetime of a patent is 20 years.
- It provides for an application for compulsory licence, not available under the old law.
- The patent requires annual renewal.
- It provides for an application for a supplementary protection certificate for pharmaceutical products. The length of the period of protection offered by the certificate is calculated in relation to the period for which protection was lost due to the authorization process. It can not exceed five years.
Because the new legislation contains provisions for the registration of patents under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the European Patent Convention (EPC), the ratification of both treaties was a prerequisite for the enactment of the new law. On April 1 1998, Cyprus became a member of the PCT and the EPC.
The new legislation goes a step nearer to the harmonization of the Cyprus legislation with that of the EU. The protection the new legislation provides will undoubtedly provide one more reason for foreign investors to invest in Cyprus, especially in the sector of research for the development of new products, but also in the commerce industry.