Patents Under The Law Of The Republic Of Cyprus


  • Alecos Markides, Legal Consultant, Lawyer
    Director of the Firm Markides, Markides and Co LLC

What is a patent?

A patent is a legal right giving to its holder (patentee) the power to prevent other persons from exploiting an invention without the patentee’s authorization.

Where can one find the applicable rules?

Patents are governed by the Patents’ Law (Law 16(I)/98, as amended by Laws 21(I)/99, 153(I)/2000, 163(I)/2002 and 163(I)/2002). The consolidated text of these laws can be found in www.cylaw.org

Which inventions are patentable?

In order to obtain the grant of a patent in Cyprus, a person, either legal or natural, through a lawyer practicing in Cyprus, must file an application at the Registrar of Patent’s office (division of the department of the Registrar of Companies’Office and Official receiver) that has a jurisdiction to grant a patent in Cyprus. According to section 5 of the Patents’ Law an invention can be registered as a patent provided:

  • It is Novel (Section 6 of the Patents’Law states that an invention is considered novel if it does not form part of prior art. Prior art means everything, which, before the filing date or where the application claims a priority date, before the priority date, had been made available to the public in written or other graphic form, oral description, use or in any other manner anywhere in the world).
  • It involves an inventive step (Section 7 of the Patents’ Law allows an invention to be considered as involving an inventive step if, having regard to the prior art, it is not obvious to the person skilled in the art).
  • It is industrially applicable. (Section 8 of the Patents’ Law provides that an invention is deemed as capable of industrial application when it can be manufactured or used in any kind of industry).

Scientific theories, mathematical methods, cosmetic creations, discoveries, designs, rules and methods used in intellectual and financial activities, as well as computer software, are not considered inventions and, therefore, cannot be registered as patents. In addition, plant varieties and animal species, as well as biological methods used in animal or plant production, cannot be registered as patents. Further, the Patents’ Law expressly excludes the human body or parts thereof or even discoveries on any of its elements from patent protection in Cyprus. In any event, an invention contravening public policy or public morals cannot be recognised as a patent. Specifically, the Patents’Law provides that some methods in medical procedures enumerated therein cannot be patentable, namely, methods of cloning humans and the germinative genetic identity of human beings or animals and the use of human embryos for commercial or industrial purposes.

Who can claim ownership of a Patent?

The right to a patent belongs to the inventor or his successor in title. Joint inventors – unless otherwise agreed – have equal rights. In cases of employer–employee relationships the ownership of the invention may be regulated by contract, as the Patents’Law does not interfere with the freedom of contract. Nevertheless, if no such contract exists, then if the invention took place during the performance of a specific task, the right belongs to the person who ordered the task; and if the invention occurs during and in the course of the employment, the right to the invention belongs to the employer.

How is Patent ownership established?

Patent ownership is recorded in the Registry of Patents, kept at the office of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, who is, also, the Registrar of Patents. A patent can be transferred and the transfer has to be recorded in the aforesaid Registry of Patents.

What is the registration procedure?

The application for registration is filed in Form P 9, in duplicate, at the Office of the Registrar by a lawyer practicing in Cyprus. The application may be filed by or on behalf of any natural person or legal entity, either alone or jointly with another. The application must contain:

  • Request for the grant of a Patent.
  • Name, address and nationality of the applicant, the inventor and his representative.
  • Title of the Invention
  • Description of the invention.
  • Claims which must be drafted as stated in the law and must state in a clear and unambiguous way the extent of protection to be conferred by in detail.
  • Drawings if any.
  • An abstract of about 150 words which will summarize the description of the invention.

The application is then forwarded for search and examination.

Is Cyprus an examining country?

No, Cyprus is not an examining country. As a result, the search and examination are performed by the European Patent Organisation. If the result of the examination is favourable to the applicant, the Registrar will proceed and register the patent in question and cause it to be published in the Official Gazette of Cyprus.

What is the duration of a Patent?

The term of a Patent is, subject to payment of the annuities, 20 years as from the date of filing of the application. In case of medicinal or phytoprotective products, the life of a patent can be extended by five years by means of a supplementary protection certificate (SPC).

An application for SPC must be filed. Form P 19 for medicinal products and Form P20 for phytoprotective products. The application for an SPC must be accompanied by a copy of the marketing authorization and a summary of the product characteristics and their respective translation in Greek.

What rights does a patent confer?

A patent owner has the exclusive right to produce, use, sell or exploit the patent. The proprietor of the patent may prohibit any third parties from manufacturing and in any way exploiting commercially the product that is protected by the patent. Pursuant to Section 27 of the Patents’ Law a patent owner has the right to prevent any third party from:

  • Producing of products incorporating the protected invention.
  • offering, selling, using, importing, or storing of a product incorporating the protected invention or of a product directly resulting from the use of the protected process.
  • using of a process which is the subject matter of the patent.
  • Inducing third parties to perform any of the above acts.
  • supplying or offering to supply a third party with means to produce the patented invention.

Before which Court can the patent owner file civil proceedings for infringement of patent? What remedies can a patent owner seek?

A patent owner has the right to proceed and file legal proceedings against an infringer of a patent before the Supreme Court of Cyprus, which is the only Cypriot Court vested with jurisdiction in respect of infringement of a patent. The proceedings are by a civil action and the remedies required are: an injunction, damages, account of profits and other appropriate remedies. The burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the plaintiff. Damages begin to accrue from the time when the infringement started. The amount awarded as damages bears annual interest at 5.5 per cent.

How does an inventor obtain protection?

An inventor has three options on how to obtain the grant of a patent. He can either file an international application or a regional application or a national application.

What is an International Application?

It is filed under Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which is a Worldwide Protection Treaty with 146 country members and administered by WIPO. The PCT filing process produces a single patent application that has been vetted for compliance with filing formalities and that has undergone a preliminary search and evaluation. This single application can then be transmitted to the national patent offices of as many PCT member countries as the applicant chooses, for filing as a national-phase application in that country. The PCT thus streamlines and consolidates the process of seeking patent protection in more than one country into a single series of steps and a single set of preliminary requirements.

The PCT application can therefore act as a way of delaying the expenses of filing in multiple national patent offices, until the inventor decides whether it is worthwhile seeking protection in many countries. A PCT application is usually filed at any time within 12 months from the initial or priority filing in a particular country member. The PCT examination gives an inventor a preliminary and non-binding opinion on the patentability of the claimed invention. He is then able to determine whether or not he should proceed with the conversion of the PCT application into numerous, individual national patents. Under the PCT process, an applicant can delay the expenses of filing for up to 30 months, while evaluating the desirability of filing in a particular country or raising the funds necessary to do so. The applicant also has the peace of mind of knowing that the application cannot be rejected on ‘prior art’ that has emerged in the time between the applicant making a PCT application and filing a national application.

The European Patent Convention (Regional Application)

(i) What is a Regional Application?

Cyprus has ratified the European Patent Convention (EPC). In case of any conflict between the Patents’ Law and the EPC, the latter prevails. European Patent Application is a regional patent application. The European Patent Office (EPO) acts as a Regional patent office which grants patents that take effect in some or all of the countries signatories EPC. Thus, the applicant can designate the countries that he wants his invention to be protected and upon the filing of a single application form, the applicant can proceed with applying for the protection of his/ her invention in one or more of the said countries. s. If the application requirements of the EPC are met, the European Patents Office (EPO) grants the patent in respect of the states designated in the European application.

(ii) Validation Application

The Cyprus Registrar of Patents’ Office validates and protects patents which are granted by the EPO. If Cyprus is one of the designated in the application states, then in order to proceed with the national phase for the validation of a European patent, Form P17 must be filed. Form P17 must be accompanied by the translation in the Greek language of the European patent as published in the European Patent Bulletin, the translator’s affidavit and the PCT application. The application for validation must be filed within a three-month time limit, commencing from the date of publication of the European patent in the European patent bulletin. This time limit is very strict and in any event not extendable. If the application for validation is not filed within this time limit, the European patent will not cover Cyprus. Upon validation, the patent is due for annuities which must be paid to the office of the Registrar every year from the filing date of the application before the Registrar.

What is a National Patent Application?

As explained also above, the application for registration is filed in Form P 9, in duplicate, at the Office of the Registrar by a lawyer practicing in Cyprus on his behalf. Following the filing of the application, the Registrar proceeds to examine it in order to verify whether it complies with the requirements of the Patents’ law and Regulations. If the application filed is in compliance with such provisions, then the Registrar requires the applicant to pay the search report fees directly to the European Patent Office (EPO). When such fees are paid, the Registrar forwards the Patent to the EPO that will in turn determine and inform the Registrar through a Search Report of any prior art in existence thus providing information in relation to the patentability of the Patent in question. Sixteen months after the filing date, or the patent’s priority date, the Patent is published in the Official Gazette of the Republic. When the patent application is accepted and published, the Cyprus Registrar of Patents’ Office will issue a Patent Certificate.

Are Utility Models protected?

Utility models are not known to the Law of Cyprus.

Are Industrial Designs protected?

In the past, Cyprus legislation in respect of the protection of designs was pronounced unconstitutional and, as a result, Cyprus remained without special machinery for the protection of Industrial Designs. However, with Cyprus now being part of the European Union, the Directive of 1998 on Legal Protection of Designs has been transposed by Law 4(I)/2002, as amended by Law 119(I)/2006, into the legal system of Cyprus.

What are the requirements for protecting industrial Designs?

The Law provides that:

  • the design must be new.
  • the design must possess individuality.
  • the design must have been made available to the public. Such rights however, shall not be granted to:
  • designs dictated by their technical function.
  • designs of interconnections.
  • designs contrary to public policy or public morals.

How can one obtain a right over a design?

The owner of the design must register it at the Office of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver. The documents and/or information that must be filed with the application are as follows:

  • details of the applicant and the applicant’s address;
  • products for which the design will be used;
  • graphical representation of the design;
  • request for filing the Design in the Registry;
  • name and address of a representative in case the applicant does not reside in Cyprus and a declaration of acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Courts of Cyprus.

Third parties do not have the right to contest the application.

If the application is not accepted or if the design is declared invalid, rights can still be granted in an amended form, for example through the addition of a disclaimer.. Once the application is accepted, the design rights are granted for one or more periods of 5 years from the date of filing the application, up to 25 years. The unauthorised use, production, storing, import, export of a product to which the registered design has been embedded or applied constitute an infringement. The owner can bring an action against the infringer for an injunction, damages, account of profits, delivery up and/or destruction of infringing goods.

What remedies are at the disposal of any person complaining against a decision of the Registrar concerning an application for the registration of a Patent or an Industrial Design?

A person whose legitimate interest is presently and directly affected by such a decision, is entitled to file within 75 days of publication of the decision or, if the decision in question, is not publishable, within 75 days from acquiring knowledge of the decision, a Recourse of annulment before the Supreme Court of Cyprus. In such a case the Court may dismiss the Recourse or annul in whole or in part, the decision of the Registrar complained of. In the latter case, the Registrar is bound to re-examine the matter and issue a new decision, in compliance with the judgment of the Supreme Court. As a rule, such new decision will have retrospective effect, as from the date of the original annulled decision.




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