All you need to know about Patents


What is a Patent?

A patent is the right granted to protect an invention. This infers that exclusive rights are granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. (Patents Act 2018, Section 2).

What is an Invention?

An invention is the work of an inventor which permits in practice the solution to a specific problem in any field of technology.

Why are Patents useful?

By patenting an invention, the patent owner holds exclusive rights to that invention. This suggests that the patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected.

What cannot be patented?

Patents may be granted for inventions in any field of technology, however there are a few key areas which are excluded from patentability. These include: 

  1. A discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method;
  2. A scheme, rule or method for doing business, performing a mental act or playing a game;
  3. Computer programs as such;
  4. A method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body;
  5. Plants and animals other than micro-organism;
  6. Essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological microbiological processes.
  7. Plant varieties
  8. Known substances for which a new has been discovered and:
  9. Inventions – the commercial exploitation of which it is necessary to prevent in Antigua and Barbuda in order- 
    • To protect public order or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health; or
    • To avoid serious prejudice to the environment, provided that such exclusion is not made merely because the exploitation is prohibited by law.

What conditions must be met to obtain patent protection?

  1. A patent may be granted only for an invention which satisfies the following conditions: (Section 5 of the Patents Act 2018)
    • An invention must be of some practical use and must offer something new which is not part of the existing body of knowledge in the relevant technical field. 
    • The invention must involve an “inventive step” which means that it could not be obviously deduced by a person having ordinary skill in the relevant technical field.
    • The invention must be capable of industrial application, meaning that it must be capable of being used for an industrial or business purpose beyond a mere theoretical phenomenon, or be useful.
  2. An invention may be, or may relate to, a product or a process.

How long can a patent be protected?

A patent shall expire 20 years after the filing date of the application. Once the period of protection has come to an end, the invention becomes off patent, meaning anyone is free to make, sell or use it. (Section 12, subject to Subsection (2) of the Patents Act 2018)

What is a Utility Certificate?

A Utility Certificate is viewed as a second form of protection for inventions.

A Utility Certificate differs from patents in three distinct respects. 

  • An inventive step is not required
  • The maximum term of protection provided by law is generally much shorter. This term is 10 years after the filing date of the application and the application shall not be renewed.
  • The fees required for obtaining and maintaining the rights are generally lower

The procedure for obtaining a utility certificate is generally shorter and simpler than the procedure for obtaining a patent. 

Is a patent valid in every country?

Patents are territorial rights. This implies that the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

What is the Patent Cooperation Treaty?

The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) assists applicants in seeking patent protection internationally for their inventions, helps patent offices with their patent granting decisions, and facilitates public access to a wealth of technical information relating to those inventions.

Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Should I tell others about my invention?

Any type of disclosure (whether by word of mouth, demonstration, advertisement or article in a journal), by the applicant or anyone acting for them, could prevent the applicant from getting a patent. It is essential that the applicant only make any disclosure under conditions of strict confidence.

What does it mean to “license a patent” and why is it done?

Licensing a patent simply means that the patent owner grants permission to another individual/organization to make, use, sell etc. his/her patented invention. This takes place according to agreed terms and conditions for a defined purpose, in a defined territory, and for an agreed period of time.

How is patent protection enforced?

The owner of a patent, or an exclusive licensee in his own name, can bring civil proceedings against infringements committed after the registration of a patent. Owners of registered designs should consult their legal advisers before taking steps to defend their rights.

Moreover, any person who knowingly performs an act which constitutes an infringement as defined in subsection (1) of the Act is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of three years.

Patent Forms

Patent Fees

Patent Fee List Amounts (EC$)
Filing an application for Patent $800.00
Filing an application for a utility certificate $400.00
Each divisional application for a Patent $400.00
Each divisional application for a utility certificate        $200.00


Publication of application $75.00
Grant of a Patent $1,000.00
Publication of a Grant of Patent $50.00
Annual Fees (Annuities)


2nd year $200.00
3rd year $300.00
4th year $400.00
5th year $500.00
6th year $600.00
7th year $700.00
8th year $800.00
9th year $900.00
10th year $1,000.00
11th year $1,100.00
12th year $1,200.00
13th year $1,300.00
14th year $1,400.00
15th year $1,500.00
16th year $1, 600.00
17th year1 $1,700.00
18th year $1,800.00
19th year $1, 900.00
20th Year $2,000.00
Matter of Proceeding Amount of Fee
For inspection of the Register $50.00
For making late payment of the annual fee $400.00
For search of an extract [section 3 (2)] $50.00
For recognizing the transfer of an application for a patent [section 30]- $300.00
For registration of a contract and publication of reference to contract in Gazette [section 37 (2)] $250.00
For transfer of a voluntary licence $300.00
For examining of records in the register [section 3 (2)] $40.00
For a copy of a patent or any other document $5.00 per page
For a certified copy of a patent or any other document $250.00 plus 5.00 per page
For a statutory licence [section 34] $200.00
For the transfer of a statutory licence [section 34 (8)] $200.00
For requesting that the Registrar extend the time limit for doing anything $300.00
For recording an address for service of a patent, or a change of address for service of a patent or a licence. $100.00
For correction of application to comply with formal requirements $100.00
For filing an application for a utility certificate $400.00
For conversion of application [section 21 (1) and 49 (1)] $400.00
For amendment of the text or drawings of the patent $150.00
For amendment of application at instance of applicant $400.00
For amendment of application at invitation of Registrar $200.00
For registration of an agent who is not an attorney at law $600.00
For maintenance fee of patent agent $400.00
For search and formal examination of patent $600.00
For restoring the name of an agent or to register a patent agent $300.00
For Surrender of Patent $300.00
Preparation of abstract by Registrar [regulation 28 (7)] $600.00
For restoration of rights $800.00
Any other fee not stated in regulations $150.00
For each claim in excess of 20 $10.00

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patent Convention Treaty