A new Patent Act (No. 1630) was promulgated in Paraguay on 29 November 2000 and abrogates the previous patent law (No. 773 dated 3 September 1925).

The new Act shall become effective as from 29 January 2001 and modernises the legal protection of inventions in accordance with international commitments assumed by Paraguay, particularly those set by the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the TRIPs agreement.

For present purposes it is important to note that:

·         The Act introduces absolute (world-wide) novelty as a criterion for patentability. Previously, local novelty was sufficient for patentability and it was accordingly possible to file applications for ?revalidation? of foreign granted patents.

·         No provision is made in the new Act for a transitional period during which owners of foreign granted patents may apply for revalidation. Accordingly, unless application is made before 29 January 2001 it will no longer be possible to revalidate patents in Paraguay.

Under the new law, provision is made for pharmaceutical product inventions, in respect of which the new Patent Law will become effective only on 1 January 2003. Patent applications for pharmaceutical products submitted since 1 January 1995 will be handled in accordance with the requirements and provisions of the current law, but they will not be granted before 1 January 2003.

Holders of rights on pharmaceutical products will be entitled to apply for exclusive rights for commercialisation during the transitional period provided that a patent application had been submitted after 1 January 1995, a patent has been granted for that product and approval for commercialising the product has been obtained in another state member of the WTO.

Once those requirements have been met an "exclusive right for commercialisation in Paraguay" shall be granted for a term of five years. The right holder will be entitled to prevent third parties from offering for sale, selling, distributing or commercialising the product.

Further information regarding the new Law will be provided upon request.