Despite being a World Trade Organization (WTO) member since 1995, Brunei did not have comprehensive intellectual property laws like its neighboring ASEAN countries and fellow WTO members. In fact, they only really started implementing patent laws based on the concept of absolute novelty in 2012. This probably explains why, as of 2020, there are still no patent disputes in the tiny country.
This is quite surprising since its neighboring country, Indonesia, has one of the highest patent registrations in the world. They also have high numbers of intellectual property disputes, many of which have to do with trademarks and copyrights.
In other parts of the world, however, patent disputes are on the rise. Non-practicing entities saw the recent months as the perfect time to file patent infringement lawsuits for various motives. In 2020, 512 NPE suits were filed in the Western District of the state of Texas alone.
Despite the lack of cases in Brunei, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply for a patent claim for your creation. To accomplish this task, below is a guide on the patent application process in Brunei.
Patent applications in Southeast Asian countries have similarities in their procedures.
This is because of their membership to organizations like the Paris Convention; Patent Cooperation Treaty and other international patent regulating bodies.
Applicants may opt for national or international filing.
Any route will uphold the standards required and followed by most countries and provided that all formality objections will be addressed, a patent will be granted within the timeframe expected.
Filing for a patent in Brunei Darussalam usually takes up to two to four years but it has a validity of twenty years from the date of filing and it can be renewed annually for a fee after the expiration of its validity.
The applicant must file a patent application in English and submit at the Brunei Darussalam Intellectual Property Office.
An authorised representative or agent with a local address in Brunei Darussalam must file on behalf of foreign applicants. Other than that mandate, there are no restrictions on nationality or residency in applying for a patent in Brunei Darussalam.
A letter of request to be granted a patent together with required forms must be submitted along with specifications of the invention such as descriptions, drawings and claims.
The registrar will notify the applicant once all formality objections are addressed.
After this, the applicant must now file for a request for a search report and an examination report.
The search report will check for any relevant claims prior to the application.This is carried out by an examiner under the Registrar.
The examination report will ensure compliance for all relevant provisions.
Once the application is all in order and no amendments are required to be made, the applicant can file a Request for the Grant Certificate after the application is published in the Patent Journal.
Applicants who earlier filed a patent in a country which is a member of the Paris Convention or WTO may claim for priority filing based on the date of their earlier application in the subsequent application in Brunei Darussalam provided that the application was made within twelve months and not yet published.
The application follows the same procedure except that it will be prioritised provided that no other application was filed in Brunei Darussalam before the applicant filed his/her patent in the other country.
Nationals and residents of Brunei Darussalam will also be entitled to file international applications under the PCT or Patent Cooperation Treaty.
For those who choose to file using the Patent Cooperation Treaty, only applications filed after the 24th of July 2012 may designate Brunei Darussalam in their international applications because Brunei Darussalam only acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) on 24 July 2012.
Registering a patent using the PCT process in Brunei Darussalam takes two years to complete.
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