We have just learnt that the Patents Act in Belize has been revised, with the revised law having effect from 31 December 2000.

Although we have yet to fully study the revised law and to ascertain the main implications of the changes, we should advise that a requirement of absolute novelty has been introduced by the revisions. Thus, the revised law does not provide for filing applications for revalidation of foreign granted patents in Belize.

However, the revised Act does include transitional provisions, which set a period of 12 months from entry into force of the revised Act, during which proprietors of foreign UK or European(UK) patents may apply for revalidation of their patents. The transitional period expires on 31 December 2001, and applications for revalidation of UK/EP(UK) patents will therefore cease to be acceptable after this date.

The revised Act also introduces the requirement that a local agent must be used for all matters carried out on behalf of a foreign Applicant. We will consequently no longer be able to act directly before the Belize Registry, and we therefore anticipate that our charges for filing a re-registration application will, in the future, amount to approximately £500.00 sterling, including official fees, our professional fees, and the fees of our local associate in Belize, although this is subject to confirmation.

A more detailed analysis of the revised Patents Act will follow shortly, but any instructions for revalidating a granted UK/EP(UK) patent should be sent to us as soon as possible so that we can file the application in good time before expiration of the transitional provisions.