The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) is an international agreement that allows inventors and applicants to gain patent protection in all of its contracting jurisdictions. Mauritius recently entered into the treaty, which will bring a new dimension to the merchant intellectual property industry and allow companies to centralise and control their patents from the island nation.
In the latest Opportunité Africa podcast, Mauritian lawyer Jason Barbe from the law firm Bowmans helps to unpack the legal implications.
‘Mauritius is also a member of the African Union, the African Continental Free Trade Area and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation,’ he says. ‘Being party to all these bilateral treaties – and now having signed the PCT – enables Mauritian companies to have preferential access to key African markets.’
‘In addition to the PCT, Mauritius has also recently acceded to the Madrid Protocol – a trademark protection agreement that offers similar international protection. The combination of the Madrid Protocol and the PCT will serve as a catalyst for the structuring of intellectual property holding companies in Mauritius, allowing the centralisation of all IP assets, protecting IP claims from foreign companies and enabling IP to be separated from other assets.’
However, Jason notes that there are still restrictions on what can be patented and trademarked, and detailed guidelines and regulations are yet to be issued.
‘Another potential challenge that we foresee for Mauritius will be the lack of authority-level resources to register a large number of trademarks and patents,’ he says. ‘Nonetheless, these are great steps forward and we expect significant positive changes in the market going forward.’
Listen to the full interview and subscribe to the podcast.