Upon receiving an application for a patent, petty patent, or industrial design, MOST will conduct a formal examination to ensure that the application is complete and meets the requirements. If the application is incomplete, MOST will notify the applicant, who will then have 60 days from the date of the notification to complete the application.
After the formality examination, MOST will conduct a substantive examination of the application to determine whether it meets the requirements for patentability or for obtaining a patent or petty patent. The substantive examination for patents and petty patents is based on a search of existing technical knowledge. In the case where the application had previously been subject to a search or examination by another authority (in another country), the applicant can submit a copy of that report and request that it be accepted in lieu of conducting a search in Laos. If there are no previous examination reports (or the applicant is otherwise unable to provide such report), the applicant must request MOST to examine the application as to its substance. Notably, MOST is required by law to undertake this examination within 32 months for an invention (patent) and 12 months for a utility innovation (petty patent) from the filing date of the application or the priority date (if priority is claimed). All of MOST’s expenses to examine the invention or utility innovation are charged to the applicant. After consideration and examination of the registration for a patent, petty patent, or industrial design application, if it is considered to meet the requirements provided by the IP Law, MOST will issue a patent, petty patent, or industrial design certificate.
An application for a patent is subject to a substantive examination to determine whether it meets the requirements for patentability or for obtaining a petty patent as described in this Law. The substantive examination shall be based on a search of existing technical knowledge. Where the application has previously been subject to a search or examination by another authority the applicant may submit a copy of the report of such office and request that it be accepted in lieu of conducting a search in the Lao PDR.
If the applicant is unable to provide substantive examination reports for the invention or utility innovation which is the subject of the application, the applicant may submit a request to the Ministry of Science and Technology to examine as to substance the application. The Ministry of Science and Technology will undertake the examination within the following time frames: 32 months for an invention and 12 months for a utility innovation from the date of filing the application or the priority date. However, all expenses incurred in the request for the examination of the invention or utility innovation registration application shall be the burden of the requestor.
The time from filing a registration to the granting of a patent or petty patent could be relatively long. Therefore, you should plan in advance to register your patents or petty patents in Laos. After having conducted a formal examination of the application, the authorities will proceed with the substantive examination, based on a search of existing technical knowledge. If the application has previously been subject to a search or examination by another authority (in another country), a copy of such search or examination may be submitted by the applicant and requested to be accepted in lieu of conducting a search in Lao. If no such previous search/examination has been conducted (or is submitted), the Lao authorities will undertake an examination within 32 months for inventions (patent applications) and 12 months for utility innovations (petty patent applications) from the filing date or priority date. The applicant bears the costs for such search or examination.
The applicant is allowed to change the type of rights for which you apply from petty patent to patent and vice versa. Be mindful that this must be done before registering the invention and the issuance of the petty patent or before the publication of the patent application.
The Law also retains special discretion to refuse registration of a patent with respect to an invention where it is considered necessary to prevent its commercial exploitation to protect the culture and traditions of Lao PDR or where it is necessary for the protection of essential security interests of Lao PDR.
Noting the above, the registration process for patents and petty patents in Lao PDR will grant priority, in the case of disputed applications, to whoever files the application first.