News & insights

Libya: Patent Office Resumes Work and Swiss-Libyan Relations Back to Normal

November 15, 2011

The Patent Office has resumed its operations after a 9-month closure period as a result of the civil unrest in the country. All deadlines falling within this period were already put off until the Office is operational again. Now that the Office is functional, all national phase applications with priority dates falling within the closure period can still be filed. Novelty issues will not be a major concern. In fact, Libya is among the last few countries in the world to require only local novelty for patent applications.

As it stands at present, Libya’s patent legislation is based on Law no. 8 of 1959, published in Official Gazette no. 11 dated May 25, 1959. The main features are as follows:

1. Patent applications are published in the Official Gazette. Oppositions may be filed within 2 months from publication date.
2. Applications are examined as to form and local novelty.
3. A maintenance fee is due annually on the anniversary of the filing date and is payable as from the date of grant. There is a 6-month grace period for late payment with no surcharge.
4. The term of protection is 15 years from filing date renewable for a further period of 5 years. The protection term for patents related to food-stuffs or drugs or pharmaceutical compositions is limited to 10 years.

The Trademark Office is also expected to resume its activities very soon. Meanwhile, we will be docketing all the instructions we receive from you, preparing all the required forms, and diarizing all approaching deadlines in order to ensure proper follow-up and organization. This way we will be able to immediately file all pending trademark applications once the Trademark Office resumes work. We will be updating you on this in due course. We will also let you know how deadlines falling within the closure period will be treated once this information is available.

The most important structural change which has taken place in the country following the recent events is related to the Libya-Switzerland relations. Switzerland has recently established formal relations with Libyan Transitional Government after a 3-year breakdown of the Swiss-Libyan Diplomatic relations. The implication of this is that it will now be possible to file new patent applications for Swiss applicants in Libya. Also, pending patent applications will no longer be kept on hold. This will apply to trademark applications as well once the Trademark Office is operational.

Should you have any questions regarding the subject matter, please contact us at info@sabaip.com