Patent registration in Laos. The Lao economy depends on investment and trade with its neighbors, Thailand, Vietnam, and, especially in the north, China. Laos is rich in mineral resources and imports petroleum and gas. Metallurgy is an important industry, and the government hopes to attract foreign investment to develop the substantial deposits of coal, gold, bauxite, tin, copper, and other valuable metals. The mining industry of Laos has received prominent attention with foreign direct investments. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to Laos is to learn the procedure of patent registration in Laos.
Patent in Laos
According to Laos Patent Law, a patent in Laos is a grant of a property right given by the Government to an inventor. With a patent, the inventor, or the patentee will have the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling the invention in a country, or importing the invention into a country, along with other rights to protect their best interests.
To be patentable in Laos, an invention must satisfy the new, nonobvious, inventive, and industrially applicable requirements.
In addition, an invention that is patentable can also be an improvement on existing items or methods.
On the other hand, the unpatentable subjects in Laos are:
- Discoveries, laws of nature, and mathematical methods;
- Aesthetic designs;
- Systems, rules, and methods for the performance of mental labor, games or management, computer programs;
- Presentation of data and abstract ideas.
Necessary documents for patent registration in Laos
The necessary documents for patent registration in Laos include:
- The request to grant a patent (patent application);
- Detailed information on the applicant(s) including the applicant’s and inventor’s names, addresses, citizenships, etc.;
- A description of the invention;
- A signed and stamped power of attorney by the applicant(s);
- A copy of the amendments (if any);
- Priority documents (if any).
- Other required documents.
Laos is a first-to-file country. Therefore, applicants need to file their application in the shortest time possible to claim priority before other third parties.
The procedure for patent registration in Laos
To obtain a patent in Laos, the applicant needs to file their patent application to the IP Office of Laos.
In Laos, there are no regulations stipulated on the substantive examination. Accordingly, the examination process in the IP Office of Laos will be based on the results made on the same patent application by foreign patent offices to issue the decision to grant a patent or not.
For small inventions, the time from applying for granting a patent is about 2-3 years and for normal inventions, the time is roughly 4-5 years depending on each unique case.
Once the granted decision is published, the applicant needs to pay the official fees. Once it has been done, the patentee will become the owner of a patent that has a 20 years validity period in Laos’ jurisdiction.
For small inventions, the validity period is 07 years.
These validity period must be uphold by paying the annual maintenance fee. Fees can be paid late but not more than 6 months from the deadline of payment along with a surcharge.
You can see a list of Laos IP firms here.