The Estonian Patent Act came into force on 23 May 1994.
Since 5 February 1994, Estonia is a member state of WIPO and since 24 August 1994, a member state of the Paris Convention and of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Since 14 September 1996, Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure was enacted. Estonia is a full member of the European Patent Organization since 1 July 2002.
We are pleased to present a general outline of the said law.
The Estonian Patent Act (full text)
General provisions for filing a patent application
Any foreign applicant shall be represented by an Estonian patent attorney. The corresponding power of attorney, simply signed and mentioning the name and position of
signatory, shall be submitted on the date of filing of the application or within two months from that date.
A patent application shall contain the following documents:
- request for the grant of a patent, containing data of the applicant(s) and author(s), and the title of the invention;
- specification, claims and abstract of the subject matter of the invention;
- priority documents if priority is claimed; the documents shall be filed within 4 months from the date of filing of the patent application;
- power of attorney;
- document proving payment of the fee.
The patent application shall be filed in Estonian, except the abstract, which shall be filed in Estonian and English. The translations into Estonian shall be filed within 3 months from the date of receipt of the application at the Patent Office.
The Patent Office shall accord a number to the patent application approved for examination and notify the applicant of the filing date and the number of the patent application.
In the course of the substantive examination, the Patent Office shall examine the invention to ascertain if it meets the criteria of patentability. The invention is deemed patentable if it is novel, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable.
The extent of patent protection shall be determined by the terms of the patent claims. The subject matter of the invention shall be presented in the patent claims as a set of essential features of the invention. The patent claims shall consist of one claim or several claims.
The date of filing with the Patent Office of the first patent application or utility model registration application shall be deemed the priority date. If the patent application has been filed with the Patent Office within 12 months from the filing date of the first patent application or utility model application, priority can be claimed:
- according to the date of filing the first patent application or utility model application in a member state of the Paris Convention;
- according to the date of filing the first patent application or utility model application in a non-member of the Paris Convention, provided that the said state shall guarantee the same conditions for the first patent application or utility model application filed in the Republic of Estonia.
The Patent Office shall lay the patent application open to public inspection and publish the corresponding announcement in its official publication after the lapse of 18 months from the filing date of the patent application, or from the priority date in case of claiming priority.
Contesting decisions of Patent Office during examination procedure
The applicant may contest the decision of the patent Office at the Board of Appeals of Industrial Property, or in court. The complaint may be lodged at the Board of Appeals within 2 months from the date of passing the decision.
Entering into Register
An invention shall be entered into the State Register of Patents upon the decision of the Patent Office, of the Board of Appeals, or of the court, of granting the patent. The Patent Office shall announce the grant of the patent in its official publication. The patent specification shall be published at the date of the announcement of the granting of the patent.
Only one patent shall be granted, regardless of the number of applicants designated in the patent application.
Contesting the patent
Within 9 months from the date of publication of the announcement of the grant of the patent, any person may lodge a complaint at the Board of Appeals regarding the legitimacy of the grant of the patent, after having paid a fee, or file a lawsuit.
Validity of patent and annuities
The term of the patent shall be 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application. The filing date of the patent application shall be deemed to be the beginning of the year of validity. Annual fee shall be paid within 6 months before the last day of the calendar month when the corresponding year of validity begins; the annual fees for the first, the second and the third year of validity shall be paid simultaneously within 6 months before the due date of the annual fee for the third year of validity.
INTERNATIONAL PATENT APPLICATION
An international patent application is a patent application filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty that came into force in Washington on 19 June 1970. The Patent Office shall act as a receiving office, as a designated office and as an elected office as defined an Art.2 of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. In order to commence the examination of an international patent application, the applicant shall be obliged to file a translation of the international patent application into Estonian within 31 months from the priority date.