As you may be aware, a new Patents Act came into force in Trinidad & Tobago on 1 December 1997. The Patents Act introduced absolute novelty as a requirement for patentability. However, the Act came into force with little forewarning and no provision was made in the original wording of the Act for applicants or owners of pending or granted UK patent applications to file applications for re-registration of the applications as they been permitted to do under the previous Patents and Designs Act, 1900.

We are pleased to report that the Parliament of Trinidad & Tobago has now passed a Patents (Amendment) Act, 2000 which introduces a one-year transitional period during which patent applications may be lodged in Trinidad and Tobago corresponding to the following:

(1) UK patent applications still pending as at 12 October 2000. This class covers any of the following having filing dates or priority dates earlier than the date of entry into force of the Trinidad & Tobago Patents Act (1 December 1997):

·         UK national patent applications

·         European patent applications designating the UK

·         PCT international applications designating the UK for a national or European patent

(2) UK patents granted as at 12 October 2000. Granted UK patents must have had filing dates earlier than the date of entry into force of the Trinidad & Tobago Patents Act (1 December 1997). They must have been granted after 1 December 1994 (this date derives from the three-year time limit calculated from grant which was previously permitted for re-registration applications). They must either be UK national patents or European patents granted in respect of the UK.

Each such application filed in Trinidad & Tobago will retain the filing date and, if applicable, priority date, of the corresponding UK patent or application. The one-year transitional period commenced on the date of entry into force of the Patents (Amendment) Act, i.e. 12 October 2000, and will accordingly expire on 12 October 2001.