Formality examination

Application documents submitted to the NCPI will be checked to see whether they are in the prescribed format and if all the required papers are attached.


Request for examination

Your application will not automatically be examined simply because you’ve filed it. You must formally request examination and attach the examination request fee. This request must be made within twelve months of the filing date, otherwise your application will be considered as abandoned.


Substantive examination

The examination of the application consists of a study of the application for compliance with the legal requirements

A design of an article can be patented if the design is new and original when compared with designs that have been disclosed or sold anywhere in the world before the date of filing the design application.

A design will satisfy the requirement of being new provided it differs from prior designs by more than variations in immaterial details or in features commonly used in the relevant trade A design will be original provided it is not an obvious adaptation of a prior design. Originality means that a design could not be easily created by a person having ordinary skill in the art to which the design pertains, on the basis of a shape, pattern or color or a combination thereof widely known in the relevant trade.

You will be notified in writing about any decision concerning your patent application, (it takes about two years for the Patent Office to process each application.). If your patent is denied, then you can amend the claims and point out why the patent should be granted. It is usual that the patent examiner will first reject your application even if eventually it is found to be patentable.

This exchange of rejections from the Patent Office and amendments by you may continue until the patent examiner allows your application or says that the rejection is final. If you wish to continue seeking a patent in this eventually, then you may appeal to the Board of Appeals.


Decision to Grant Patent Registration or Decision of Refusal

If the examiner finds no reason for refusal of the application, or if the notice of reason for refusal is satisfactorily complied with by amendment or correction, the examiner issues a decision to grant the patent registration. Otherwise, the examiner refuses the application.