Tonga Patent Guide
A patent can be registered in Tonga pursuant to the Industrial Property Act 1994 (Act No. 19 of 1994) as amended by the Industrial Property (Amendment) Act 2002 which provides for local patent applications.
The following information and documentation is required:
- a request for the grant of the patent
- a description of the invention
- one or more claims and any drawings referred to in the description or any claim
- an abstract
- applicant’s name, address and nationality
- Power of Attorney (notarised)
- certified copy of priority document (if priority is claimed)
It usually takes between 4-5 years for the Registrar of the Intellectual Property Unit of The Registry and Intellectual Property Office (RIPO) in the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour to process an application for registration. Paris Convention priority can be claimed. Once the registration is complete the Registrar will issue a Certificate of Registration.
Patent Cooperation Treaty
Tonga is not a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). National phase filing of a PCT patent is not possible.
Whilst there is no requirement to conduct a search in Tonga prior to the filing of an application for registration a search is recommended to ascertain that there will be no discrepancies concerning the innovativeness of the patent. The result can usually be provided within three weeks.
Once a patent has been registered in Tonga there is an annual fee payable to the Tonga Government each year. The fee is due on the anniversary of the application date.
Failure to pay an annuity will result in the rights protected by the registration being placed in abeyance. This will effectively prevent any enforcement action being taken.
A grace period of six months, however, is allowed for the late payment of an annuity upon payment of a late fee. After that time the patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn or the patent will lapse.
A patent registration is valid for 20 years. Once the registration has expired it cannot be renewed.
Please inform us as soon as possible if you wish to abandon your patent or allow it to lapse so that we can update our records and advise the Registrar accordingly. This will avoid us sending out unnecessary Reminder Notices.
Please inform us as soon as possible if the patent has been assigned so that we can file an application to record the assignment in Tonga.
To record the assignment of a patent registration the only documentation required is the Deed of Assignment (notarised) and a Power of Attorney (notarised).
It usually takes 12 months or less for the Registrar to process an application to record an assignment. Once the recording is complete the Registrar will issue a Certificate of Registration of Assignment.
Change of Particulars
Please inform us as soon as possible if there is any change to the registration so that we can file an application to record the change in Tonga.
To record a change of name and/or address for a patent registration the only documentation required is the document evidencing the change (notarised) and a Power of Attorney (notarised).
It usually takes 12 months or less for the Registrar to process an application to record a Change of Particulars. Once the recording is complete the Registrar will issue a document confirming the change.