Brunei patent case clarifies position for pre-existing patents

Brunei IP news is rare and IP cases even rarer still. Only in 2012 did Brunei adopt a full patent system. A case on the new patent law's transitional provisions has made it through the courts and set clearer rules for pre-existing re-registered patents under the old system.

The previous patent system allowed re-registration of UK, Malaysian or Singaporean patents within 1 year of their grant, provided such the patent had a date of filing before 1 January 2012. The term runs for 20 years from 'the date of the patent'. The case was Winthrop Pharmaceuticals v Shionogi Seiyaku Kabushiki Kaisha. The question at issue was whether the term 'the date of the patent' meant the date of filing or date of grant.  The Court of Appeal held it meant the date of grant.

The Brunei patent office now calculates annuities for all old Brunei patents obtained by re-registration, from the date of grant of the re-registered patent.  Previously they calculated annuities from the date of filing. So now Patentees can switch if they choose and save money. In addition, what were previously believed to be expired patents because the term ran 20 years from the date of filing, will now be treated as live until 20 years from the date of the original grant.

The net result will increase old patent terms and increase annuities for the patent office. All of which helps boost the new patent system a little more.