As previously reported, the Madagascan Patent Office (OMAPI) has recently been issuing notices of rejection in respect of certain of our clients' PCT national phase patent applications, based on any objections raised during the international preliminary examination (IPE) of the respective PCT applications due to lack of novelty and/or inventive step of the claimed subject matter. Until now, the only means of recourse against any such objections raised by OMAPI has been to file an appeal to the Court within one year from the date of issuance of the notification of rejection.

We are pleased to advise that OMAPI has now decided to give applicants an opportunity to address any objections raised by submitting a response directly to the patent examiner, rather than the examiner issuing an outright rejection notice and requiring an appeal to be filed. This is a practical solution to the current lack of suitable provisions in the law, but needs to be formalised in the new law which is currently in the process of being drafted. We are hopeful that the new law, including provisions allowing for the above-mentioned official action responses, will be forthcoming in the near future.