The PCT is an international treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and is currently subscribed by 144 State Members, where Panama is one of them and whose main objective is to simplify the procedure for the submission of an international patent application with the purpose of obtaining a protection by patent in several countries.
The PCT is a system of “submission” of patent applications, not a system of “award” of patents, which has two fundamental phases:
· The INTERNATIONAL PHASE: Its main stages are: the presentation of the international application, the international search, the international publication (The WIPO executes it on its web site) and the Preliminary international Exam (which is optional) examination. It takes place before the Receiving Office (RO), the International Bureau of WIPO, and the Administration in charge of the International Search (ISA) and eventually the International Preliminary Examination (IPEA).
· The NATIONAL PHASE: In this phase the applicant goes directly to the designated national Offices, which ultimately shall grant or reject the patent application, since the task and responsibility of granting the patent corresponds exclusively to each of them.
Patent Registries in Panama
The administrative authority that has the power to process and grant the registration of patents in Panama is the General Directorate of the Industrial Property Registry (DIGERPI in Spanish).
The processing usually follows these steps:
- Presentation of the request to the DIGERPI, complete of the necessary documentation and the payment of the fee for the maintenance of the first annuity.
- Formal and technical exam, to confirm that the application is correct and completes all the requirements. In the event that the Office does not find the complete information or documentation to continue with the process, it will make a request for information, which must be answered within a period of 60 working days. If the application is not amended or supplemented, it will it be declared abandoned and will lose its priority.
- Issuance of the report on the State of the technique. This report consists in contrasting or comparing the patent application with the “State of the previous technique”, and it must be requested within 14 months as of the submission of the request.
- Publication in the Official Gazette of the Registration of the Industrial Property (BORPI), within a period of 18 months as of the date of the application with a deadline of 60 days for objections.
Requierements that must be met by patent applications
- Power given to the lawyer (in original) or failing the corresponding informal Agency.
- Name, nationality and address of the inventor or inventors.
- Assignment document cases that the applicant is not the inventor.
- Title of the invention, the invention must be accompanied by the specification, claims, abstract and drawings, in the event that it is required.
- Applications for patents for inventions in Panama can be paid for the first five years, after this term would be paid the second five-year term, then third and finally the fourth five-year term.
Patents are protected for 20 years and utility models for 10 years.