New IP legislation in Mauritius

In 2019 the Mauritian authorities published new IP legislation, the Industrial Property Act 2019.

The legislation is now in force, effective from 31 January 2022. The changes significantly modernise IP law in Mauritius and bring it into line with international standards.

Some noteworthy features of the new IP legislation in Mauritius are as follows:

Patents in Mauritius

  • Computer programs are specifically excluded from patent protection;
  • The test for novelty is an absolute one;
  • Although the employer owns patents created by employees, there is provision for employees to receive ‘appropriate compensation’ where the economic gains made by the employer/patentee are ‘disproportionately high’;
  • Substantive examination will take place;
  • Opposition is possible;
  • The patent term is 20 years; and
  • There are provisions for Patent Cooperation Treaty filings.

Utility models in Mauritius

  • Novelty: the test is an absolute one;
  • Substantive examination will take place;
  • Conversion from a patent to a utility model (and vice versa) is possible; and
  • There is provision for invalidation, but not for opposition.

Industrial designs in Mauritius

Protection of designs is limited to 20 years.

Lay-out designs in Mauritius

There is provision for protection in cases of originality and commercial exploitation not exceeding two years.

New plant varieties

There is provision for protection for nationals and companies registered in countries that belong to the International Convention for the Protection of Plants (UPOV).

Trade marks in Mauritius

  • The definition of trade marks refers to marks that are ‘visually perceptible’ and specifically includes colour and shape;
  • Opposition is possible;
  • Well-known marks will be protected;
  • Madrid Protocol: there are detailed provisions regarding international registrations; and
  • Non-use: the term is three years.

Geographical indications

There are provisions for the protection of geographical indications.

IP administration

There will be three separate bodies: the Intellectual Property Council (an advisory body), the Industrial Property Office (the registry), and the Industrial Property Tribunal (a court that deals with appeals from the registry).
The new IP legislation in Mauritius is a welcome development.

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