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Malawi Patents

Patent & Design Protection

Malawi patents have a duration of 20 years from date of filing. Malawi is a member of PCT and the Paris Convention. PCT National Phase entries provide a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect intellectual property in each of its contracting states.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty  (PCT) is an international patent law treaty that provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications to protect inventions in all of its contracting states. A single filing of an international application is made with a Receiving Office (RO) in one language. It then results in a search performed by an International Searching Authority (ISA), accompanied by a written opinion regarding the patentability of the invention, which is the subject of the application. The PCT National Phase entry essentially leads to a standard national or regional patent application, which may be granted or rejected according to applicable law, in each jurisdiction in which a patent is desired. 

Malawi Patents may be filed through the ARIPO union where the applicant may file a single application designating the specific contracting states either directly at ARIPO or through a contracting state. The relevant protocol on Patents for ARIPO is the Harare Protocol, which authorises ARIPO to register Patents on behalf of Harare Protocol Contracting States. 

Types of Patents:

  • Patents of Invention
  • Patents of Addition
  • National Phase PCT Application
  • ARIPO application or ARIPO Regional Phase PCT application

Filing Requirements:

Non-PCT applications:

  • Power of Attorney (required upon filing)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract with English translation (required upon filing)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) with verified English translation (can be late filed)

PCT applications:

  • Power of Attorney (required upon filing)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract with English translation (required upon filing)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)
  • Published International application (required upon filing)
  • International Search Report and International Preliminary Report on Patentability (can be late filed)

ARIPO application where Malawi is designated or ARIPO Regional Phase PCT application.

Novelty:

The invention must be new in Malawi and must not have been described in a patent specification in the last 50 years.

Patentability:  

A substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components thereof or a process for producing such substances is not patentable.

Examination:

Formal examination.

Duration/Renewals:

The patent has a duration of 16 years from date of filing with the option to extend it for a further 5 years or in exceptional cases for a further 10 years. Annual renewal fees are payable every year from the third anniversary of the filing date.

International and Regional Systems:

  • Paris Convention
  • PCT
  • ARIPO

Types of Designs:

  • Industrial Designs
  • Textile Designs

Filing Requirements:

  • Power of Attorney (can be late filed)
  • Drawings, photographs or other graphic representation of the design (required upon filing)
  • A statement indicating the kind of products for which the design is to be used (required upon filing)
  • Certified copy of priority document (if applicable) with verified English translation (must be filed within 3 months of the filing date)
  • Deed of assignment (can be late filed)

ARIPO design designating Malawi.

Duration/Renewals:

The design has an initial term of 5 years from date of filing, with possible extensions of 2 further terms of 5 years each.

International and Regional Systems:

  • Paris Convention
  • ARIPO
Harare Protocol

ARIPO is mandated to grant patents on behalf of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Harare Protocol on Patents, Designs and Utility Models. The Harare Protocol was adopted on December 10, 1982 at Harare, Zimbabwe. The protocol entered into force in 1984.

ARIPO Members – Patents
Botswana, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania (mainland), Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.