How To Register A Patent In Namibia

What is a Patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. This invention can be a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something or offer a new technical solution to a problem. In short, a patent provides protection for the invention to the owner. A patent can also be described as a document which gives you the right to stop other people from making, copying, using or selling your invention.

Patents provide protection of an invention of any new and useful art, process, machine, manufactured or composition of matter; or any new and useful improvement thereof; which can be used or applied in trade or industry; and which is not known or used by others, and not patented or described in any printed publication in Namibia or any other country.

Overview of Patent in Namibia

Namibia Patents have a duration of 20 years from date of filing. Namibia 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. 

Namibia 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. 

How To Register A Patent In Namibia

Filing Requirements:

Non-PCT applications:

  • Simply signed declaration and Power of Attorney (must be filed within 2 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract with English translation (required upon filing)
  • Deed of assignment (must be filed within 2 months of the filing date)
  • Certified copy of the priority document (if applicable) with verified English translation (can be late filed)

PCT applications:

  • Simply signed declaration and Power of Attorney (must be filed within 2 months of the filing date)
  • Specification, claims, drawings and abstract with English translation (required upon filing)
  • Deed of assignment (must be filed within 2 months of the filing date)
  • Published International application (required upon filing)
  • International Search Report and International Preliminary Report on Patentability (can be late filed)

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Duration of Protection a Patent in Namibia

A patent provides protection to an inventor for a new product or process for a duration of 20 years in return for the disclosure of the invention. It is renewed annually from the first anniversary of filing until the 20th anniversary of filing. It is important to pay an annual renewal fee to keep it in force.  The patent expires after 20 years.

Why is it Important to Register a Patent in Namibia?

It is important that you apply for a patent before you make your invention available to the public, in order to protect its novelty.

Why are Patents Necessary in Namibia?

Patents provide incentives to individuals by recognising their creativity and offering the possibility of material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which in turn enhances the quality of human life.

What Kinds of Protection do Patents Offer in Namibia?

Patent protection ensures that an invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed or sold without the patent owner’s consent. Patent rights are usually enforced in courts who, in most systems, hold the authority to prohibit patent infringement. Conversely, a court can also declare a patent invalid upon a successful challenge by a third party.

When Should You Apply for a Patent in Namibia?

You can apply for a patent if you have created an invention.  An invention is something that is unique, not obvious, and capable of being manufactured by an industrial process.  If you want to protect your invention from being copied, you have to apply for protection of your patent.

Who Can Apply for a Patent in Namibia?

The person who created the invention (the inventor) can apply for a patent.  The inventor can also nominate a person or a company to apply for the patent protection.  You cannot patent an idea if you have seen it somewhere else.  It must be original and unique.

Advantages of Obtaining a Patent in Namibia
  • Patents provide exclusive rights to the owner of the invention to exploit it commercially.
  • Patents provide a means for technological exchange as each patent document describes a new aspect of the technology in clear and specific terms. Patent systems are host to more than 70% of scientific literature.
  • Patent documents are vital resources for researchers, business people, inventors, academics and anyone who wants to keep up with new developments in their field.

How do I protect an idea without a patent in Namibia?

If you determine that the invention is probably not patentable, the most effective way to protect yourself is to have prospective licensees sign a nondisclosure agreement before you reveal your invention. This document is sometimes called an “NDA” or a “confidentiality agreement,” but the terms are similar.

Can I sell a product without a patent in Namibia?

No. You are not required to obtain a patent in order to sell a product or service embodying your invention. Many products and services are sold that are not patented. A Namibian patent provides the right to stop others from making marketing, selling, or importing your invention in the Namibia.

How do you pitch an idea to a company without it being stolen in Namibia?

If your idea is so unusual that it’s patentable, before you show it off, you’ll want to have that company sign a nondisclosure agreement promising it won’t steal it. Get a lawyer experienced in your industry to help write it

Are patents worth it in Namibia?

The primary benefit of a patent is the right to stop your competitors from selling the same product. You can become the sole supplier of the product. Based on the law of supply and demand, lowering the supply allows you to sell your product at a higher price. If sales are strong, then the patent is absolutely worth it

Can you patent a similar product in Namibia?

Can you patent a similar product? Yes, you can patent a similar product as long as the differences between the two similar products are nonobvious.

Do inventors make a lot of money in Namibia?

You can also get more money if your invention turns out to be popular. However, you get less money at first in exchange for that leverage. For instance, a first-time inventor can expect a royalty rate of around 3 percent, and an experienced inventor may see up to 25 percent of the gross profit.

Why are patents so expensive in Namibia?

Because patents are valuable to have and expensive to infringe there will always be those who seek to get around your rights. The job of the patent attorney is to make sure that doesn’t happen to the greatest extent possible. That requires a lot of time and energy, which translates into money.

Can you go to jail for patent infringement in Namibia?

Patent infringement is not, but that could change. The real question is, can you go to jail for violating laws that protect copyrights, trademarks, and patents? The answer is, of course, but it’s not likely unless you are a colossal scoff-law. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is serious about copyright enforcement.

What happens if someone copies a patented idea in Namibia?

By attaching a copy of the patent, you have now put the infringer on notice about the patent, and any further use of that patent will be willful and subject to enhanced damages, in the event of litigation.