With effect from 11 February 2022, Jamaica started implementing the new Patents and Designs Act (No.1 of 2020), which repealed the Patent Act of 1857 and the Designs Act of 1937.
Under the new Act, Jamaica has changed its local novelty requirements for patents to absolute novelty and inventiveness. Plants, animals, seed varieties and method to do a mental act, business, play game or a computer programme have been excluded from patentability. The new Act allows Jamaican applicants to claim Convention priority. It also provides for substantive examination if an applicant submits a request to that effect after paying the requisite fees. Voluntary divisional applications for patents are now allowed. Validity of a patent has been increased from 14 years 20 years, with provision to renew further on payment of a renewal fee. Under the new Act, an invention by an employee generally belongs to the employer; however, if the employer makes outstanding benefit out of the invention, the employee is entitled to claim a fair share of that benefit. It also allows an interested party to apply to the Registrar for revocation of a patent within 12 months of grant.
To register a new invention as a utility model under the Act, the invention’s industrial application should be demonstrated. A utility model will have a term of 10 years. A design can also be registered under the Act if the design is new and unique and is not against the public order or morality.