Patent means the official certificate issued by the state organization to protect inventions that they are new, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application;
Invention means the technical solution to create new product or process of production to resolve a specific problem;
Petty patent means the official certificate issued by the state organization to protect utility innovation;
Utility innovation means a new innovative work derived through technical improvements, which involve simpler steps than with inventions;
Patents are the set of exclusive rights granted to inventors or their assignees to exploit an invention for a limited period of time.
Patenting an invention publicly discloses information concerning it but also gives the patent holder the right to protect it. The IP Law defines patents as the “official certificate from the state organisation issued to protect inventions that are new, involve an inventive step, and are capable of industrial application”.
An invention is considered new if it has not existed and has not been disclosed to the public by publication or by use (or by any other means) in Laos or any other country prior to the filing date of the patent application, or prior to the priority date (if priority is claimed). An invention has an inventive step when the invention is not obvious to a person having ordinary knowledge in the invention’s field of technology. An invention is considered industrially applicable if it has use in an industry.
The IP Law excludes certain types of inventions from patent protection, including:
- Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods.
- Schemes, rules, or methods for doing business, performing mental acts or playing games.
- Methods for the treatment of the human or animal body.
- Inventions contrary to public order or national cultural morality.
Petty patents are the official certificates issued to protect utility innovations. The IP Law defines utility innovations as “new innovative work[s] derived through technical improvements, which involve simpler [inventive] steps than with inventions”. In order to receive a petty patent, the utility innovation must be new in the sense that it has not been previously known or used in Laos within one year prior to the date of the application or the priority date (if priority is claimed).
The requirement as to the inventive step means that the utility innovation must involve a new technical improvement, but the level of the inventive step may be simpler than for patents. Finally, the innovative work must be industrially applicable, having the same definition as for patents set out above.
A patent is a bundle of IP protection rights held by an inventor or their assignees with respect to an invention in which information concerning the invention is protected from being exploited by third parties.
Under the Law a patent “means the official certificate issued by the state organisation to protect inventions.” An application to obtain a patent with respect to an invention in Lao PDR must demonstrate that the respective invention satisfies the following requirements:
- The invention must be new. the invention has not existed, not been disclosed to the public by publication or use or in any other means in the Lao PDR or any other place prior to the date on which the respective application for registration is made;
- The invention involves an inventive step. The invention must not be obvious to a person having ordinary knowledge in the field or industry in which the invention seeks to be used or applied; and,
- The invention is industrially applicable. The invention must be able to be “applied usefully in industry, handicraft agriculture, fishery, services, etc”.
Petty patent protection may be offered to innovations which do not reach the threshold required for patent protection. Petty patent protection may be applied for for a utility innovation which meets the following requirements:
- It is new in the sense that it has not previously been know or used within one year prior to the date of application within Lao PDR;
- It involves a new technical improvement that involves an inventive step which may be a lesser step than that required for a patent; and,
- It is industrially applicable, meaning that it can be “applied usefully in industry, handicraft, agriculture, fishery, services, etc”.
Certain inventions may be ineligible for patent or petty patent protection for the following reasons:
- They are discoveries of existing things including living organisms or parts of living organisms that exist in nature; and
- They are scientific theories or principles, mathematical algorithms, or sets of rules for doing business or playing games, noting that such things may form part of eligible inventions.
Likewise, diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods of treatment of humans and animals, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals are also ineligible for patent protection. Noting, again, that such elements may constitute part of an eligible invention.