Patents in Ghana

Patents in Ghana

What is a Patent?

A patent is a title granted exclusively to protect an invention within a specific period.  

What law governs patents in Ghana?

The Patents Act, 2003 (Act 657) and Patents Regulations 1996 (L.I. 1616) provide the legal framework for regulating patents in Ghana.

What is patentable?

An invention is patentable if:

  1. it is new (i.e. it has not been anticipated by a prior art anywhere in the world);
  2. it involves an inventive step; and
  3. it is industrially applicable.

The invention must ultimately provide a solution to a specific problem, particularly in the field of technology.

What cannot be registered as a patent?

(a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;

(b) schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games;

(c) methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body;

(d) inventions that prevent a country from maintaining public order or morality.

How do you register a patent?

A patent application must be filed with the Registrar at the Intellectual Property Office and must contain the following:

  1. a request containing a petition to the effect that a patent be granted, the name of and other prescribed data concerning the applicant, the inventor and the agent, if any, as well as the title of the invention;
  2. a concise description of the invention;
  3. one or more claims in respect of the protection being sought;
  4. one or more drawings of the invention where applicable; and
  5. an abstract providing technical information on the invention.

The application is subject to the payment of the prescribed application fee.

Where an applicant is a foreigner or foreign entity, a Power of Attorney is required for the purposes of making a patent application. The applicant must be represented by a legal practitioner in Ghana.

 How long is a patent valid for?

A successful patent registration in Ghana only affords the inventor protection in Ghana for a period of 20 years from the date of filing of the application.

In order to maintain the patent or patent application, an annual fee is payable to the Registrar.

 Who owns the inventions created in the course of employment?

In the absence of any contractual provision to the contrary, an invention made during the course of employment belongs to the employer.

What are the rights of a patent owner?

A patent owner has the exclusive right to exclude others from using, selling or distributing the patented invention without the consent of the patent owner.

Which International Treaties is Ghana a signatory of?

Ghana has signed the following international treaties in relation to Patents:

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act of July 14, 1967;
  • ARIPO, Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs;
  • Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO);
  • World Trade Organization’s Agreement (WTO) on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual; Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement; and
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

What is the effect of Ghana being a Member State?

Applicants may claim priority of one or more earlier national, regional or international applications filed by an applicant or the applicant’s predecessor in title for any state that is a party to the Paris Convention or a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

International applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) may designate Ghana as a receiving office and such applications shall be treated as an application under the Patent Act of Ghana. The international filing date will be adopted by the Registrar.

All documents filed which are not in the English language are required to be translated into the English Language.