United Republic of Tanzania has been a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty since 14 September 1999. As of that date it is possible to designate Tanzania in international patent applications filed under the PCT (note: Since 1 September 1999 Tanzania has also become a member of the Protocol on Patent and Industrial Designs within the Framework of African Region Industrial Property Organization (the Harare Protocol), 1982), thus it also possible for a patent protection in Tanzania to be obtained by a ARIPO-PCT application as well). The procedure for processing patent application when the local Patent Office acts as Receiving Office under the PCT are as follows:
- The local Patent Office is the competent Receiving Office for international patent applications filed by a Tanzanian citizen or by a person whose private or corporate domicile is in Tanzania.
- International applications filed with the local Patent Office must be filed in triplicate, in compliance with the formal and physical requirements prescribed in the Regulations under the PCT itself.
- International patent applications may be filed either in one of the languages prescribed by the competent International Searching Authority elected by the applicant. The competent International Searching Authority for PCT international applications filed with the Patent Office include the European Patent Office and ARIPO Office.
- The translation of the international application must be furnished to the Patent Office within one month from the date on which the international application was received by the Patent Office. Where, by the time the Patent Office notifies the applicant of the international application number and international filing date, the applicant has not furnished the required translation, the Patent Office will, preferably together with that notification, invite the applicant to furnish the required translation either within the time limit of one month from the date on which the international application was received by the Patent Office, or, in the event that the required translation is not furnished within that time limit, to furnish it and to pay, where applicable, the late furnishing fee, within one month from the date of the invitation or two months from the date of receipt of the international application by the Patent Office, whichever expires later. Where the Patent Office has sent to the applicant an invitation to furnish the translation and, where applicable, pay the late furnishing fee, and the applicant has not done so within the applicable time limit, the international application will be considered withdrawn and the Patent Office will so declare. However, any translation and any payment which are received by the Patent Office before that Office makes the declaration that the international application is considered withdrawn, and before the expiration of 15 months from the priority date, will be considered to have been received before the expiration of the applicable time limit.
- For international applications filed with the Tanzania Patent Office, in addition to the fees prescribed by the PCT a transmittal fee must be paid. Some particulars for entering the national phase before the Patent Office of an international application filed under the PCT and designating or electing Tanzania are as follows:
- The national filing fee
Within 31 months of the priority date the national filing fee must be paid.
- The translation
- Within 31 months of the priority date an English translation of the international application must be filed in triplicate with the Tanzania Patent Office and further the name and address of the inventor(s) must be given.
- The translation shall contain the specification, the claims, any text matter of the drawings (if any), and the abstract; if the claims have been amended according to the PCT or when entering the Tanzanian national phase, the English translation must be submitted for both the original and the amended claims, together with a declaration on the set of claims that the applicant intends to use in the national proceedings.
- Time limits
- The national filing fee can be paid and the translation can be filed, together with the information on the name and address of the inventor(s), within three months of the last day of the 31-month deadline, if an additional fee prescribed in a specific decree is paid as well.
- The failure to perform any of the above acts within the prescribed time limit (31 or 34 months from the priority date) results in that the effect of the international patent application shall cease in the United Republic of Tanzania with the same consequences as the withdrawal of any national application.
- If the effect of the international patent application ceased in the Republic of Tanzania, a request for activation of the application can be filed within six months from the time limit missed (i.e., 31 or 34 months from the priority date), if the failure to meet the time limit was unintentional and occurred in spite of due care.
- Further, if the effect of the international patent application ceased in the United Republic of Tanzania, a request for reinstatement in rights can be filed according to PCT Rule 49.6 within 12 months of the missed prescribed time limit for entering the national phase (31 months from the priority date), if the failure to meet the time limit was unintentional and occurred in spite of due care, provided that the appropriate special fee prescribed in a specific decree is paid as well.
- Other requirements
When starting the national phase the following further documents or evidences have to be filed:
- If applicant is represented by an agent, the power of attorney;
- If applicant is not the inventor, a declaration as to the applicant’s entitlement to apply for and be granted a patent, if it was not filed in the international phase;
- The international application number of the application;
- If there is a (non-prejudicial) disclosure at certain exhibitions, any evidence supporting this;
- The priority document, if it was not filed during the international phase; and
- Reference to deposited biological material, a declaration concerning the repeated deposit of biological material, declaration of the person who made the deposit, if this is different from the applicant (when applicable).
Further requirements apply to applications relating to nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences.
- Further particulars
- Those parts of the international patent application for which the International Searching Authority has not performed the international search under subparagraph a) of paragraph (3) of Article 17 of the PCT (or those parts, which were not the subject of international preliminary examination according to subparagraph a) of paragraph (3) of Article 34 of the PCT) will be considered withdrawn, unless the applicant pays an additional national search fee, which is 50 per cent of the payable national filing fee including basic fee and surplus fees within three months of the date on which the translation of the international application is submitted to local Patent Office.
- Annual maintenance fees are due for each year from the international filing date, but will become due for payment only after the national publication of the patent application. The maintenance fees must be paid for each year so far lapsed after the international filing date; the annual maintenance fees for the following years must be paid in advance before or on the anniversary of the international filing date, grace six months with penalty.
- As in the case of national applications, amendments to the specification, claims and drawings may be made (on payment of the required official fee) until the decision to grant the patent becomes final; however, amendments going beyond the scope of the application as originally filed are not allowed.
- Utility models.
It is also possible in an international application filed under the PCT to apply for utility model in Tanzania (instead of, but not in addition to, the grant of a patent). The particulars for entering the national phase in case of utility model are in principle the same as those applicable when a patent is applied for, but unlike in the case of patents, a different national filing fee is to be paid, and further, the annual maintenance fees for utility models became due only after grant.