We wish to report that the Patent Law of Georgia has been amended with effect from 24 June 2010. From the same date, a new Law on Designs also became effective. Points of particular significance are detailed below:

Amendments to the Patent Law of Georgia
Patents of Importation no longer permissible: Inter alia, the amendments to the patent law render it no longer possible to file an application for a patent of importation (i.e. one based on a foreign granted patent) in Georgia. Patents of importation granted before 24 June 2010 will, however, remain in force for the remainder of their term (provided, of course, that the necessary annuities are duly paid).

Examination of patent applications: The examination of patent applications involves the verification of the filing date, and an examination as to both form and substance. During the examination as to substance, the subject-matter which is indicated in the patent application and the state of art are both determined. After a request for novelty examination has been completed, the examiner is authorized to evaluate also the inventive step. If the examiner considers that the invention is obvious compared with the existing state of the art, the examiner must notify the heads of examination. The examiner's suggestion on the inventive step will be jointly discussed, on the basis of which a decision on grant of patent will be taken.

Post-grant actions: An interested party may, within the term of validity of a patent, request the re-examination thereof on the basis that the invention does not satisfy the patentability requirements. On the basis of such re-examination, the Patent Office will make a decision either to refuse the request for cancellation of the patent, or to cancel the patent completely or partially. At the request of the patent owner, it is permissible to make amendments to the specification and claims of the issued patent in order to correct technical errors.

The validity of a patent: In general, this term remains unchanged at 20 years from the filing date. However, the validity term of patents relating to medical preparations, for which permission from an authorized authority is necessary in order for the invention to enter the Georgian market, may be extended at the request of patent owner for an additional period which may not exceed 5 further years. The patent owner must present a statement requesting the additional term within a year from the date of receipt of consent from the authorized authority. 

Utility Models: The patentability criterion that must be satisfied by utility models are: novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. The validity term of a utility model is 10 years.

New Law on Designs
A new Law on Designs came into effect on 24 June 2010. Previously, regulations referring to designs were incorporated into the patent law. The new law refers to those designs for which applications are filed after 24 June 2010, whereas applications for designs filed before this date will continue to be treated under the previous regulations.

Design applications can now be filed directly with the Georgian Patent Office (GPO), or an International registration can be extended to Georgia according to the Hague Convention. Registration may be obtained in respect of novel and individual designs. Examination of design applications is carried out for local novelty. The GPO issues a decision on grant and publishes information regarding the design in the Official Bulletin. Third parties may file an opposition after the publication, before the Chamber of Appeal under the GPO. Accelerated registration of designs is possible upon payment of the relevant fees. Design registrations have a term of validity of 5 years from the filing date, extensible for four further 5-year terms upon payment of the relevant fees, up to a maximum of 25 years from the date of filing.