Procedure for patent application

✓ Form P1 & Complete Specification (P5)

✓ Examination in terms of the Patent Law

✓ Notification of Applicant to advertise Patent in Patents & Trademarks Journal at a prescribed fee in Form PV.8.

✓ Opposition (if any) of the patent by third parties occurs within three months from date of publication

✓ No opposition; patent is issued

Costs for patents

Provisional patent – US$80.

*The provisional patent is mostly for those who plan to exhibit their idea at a show or exhibition forum. It is valid for 6 months.

The second patenting plan is valid for 20 years. Fees are:

Application fees – $400

Advert fees – $40

Certificate – $80

Patents in Zimbabwe are governed by the Patent Act (Chapter 26:03) which was amended in 2002. The Act provides for registration and protection of patents.  One is required to make formal registration for intellectual property rights at the national office of Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (ZIPO) or the regional office of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO). The Zimbabwe Intellectual Property Office (ZIPO) is a section of the Department of Deeds and Intellectual Property and is currently administered by the Ministry of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. 

The maximum cost for patenting is $520 (costs include searching fees, application fees, certificate and advertising). Obtaining a patent will take approximately 4–6 months to acquire. 
angle-left The patent application process

The application is the initial process in which an applicant thoroughly describes their idea and express its uniqueness. It will take about four (4) months to verify to and fro (these variables are more specific to an idea). The advert fees are for your idea to be advertised in order to verify uniqueness and this lasts about three (3) months. Lastly, the certificate stage is where one gets the idea certified as theirs.

How do products/services qualify?

A Product: e.g. a door lock

A Composition: e.g. a chemical composition in lubricants for door locks

An Apparatus: e.g. a machine for making door locks

A Process: e.g. a method for making door locks… or an improvement on any of these (90% of patents are improvements of existing patents)

What can be patented?

  • Must be useful (practically)
  • Must be new–must have some new characteristic which is not known in the body of existing knowledge in its technical field (prior art)
  • Must show an inventive step which could not be deduced by a person with average knowledge of the technical field
  • The subject matter must be accepted as patentable under the national patent law

What cannot be patented?

  • Scientific theories
  • Mathematical methods
  • Plant or animal varieties
  • Discoveries of natural substances
  • Commercial/business methods (ways of doing business)
  • Methods for medical treatment (as opposed to medical products)
  • Frivolous applications– those against established natural laws
  • Applications contrary to law e.g. firearms
  • Substances used as food or medicine
  • Defense purpose inventions
  • Secret knowledge
  • Process of human production
  • Disclosed/lapsed inventions
  • Software

Criteria for patenting 

For an invention to be patented it must be:

  • Novel: must be new, first in the world - no one can have already done or used it before
  • Inventive: must not be obvious to someone of average skill in the field of invention
  • Industrial Applicability (Useful): functional, or operative or can be used