Patent in Ethiopia

   Patent is a legal form of protection that provides a person or legal entity with exclusive rights to exclude others from making, using, or selling a concept or invention for the duration of the patent. This exclusive right is granted by the EIPO for an invention that is new, involves an inventive step and is capable of industrial application.


Patentable Inventions


  • Not anticipated by prior art
  • Prior art consist everything disclosed to the public, anywhere in the world by publication legible form or by oral disclosure, by use or in any other way.



  • Compared to the prior art if the invention is not obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art.



  • An invention shall be considered as industrially applicable where it can be made or used in handicraft, agriculture, fishery, social services and any other sectors.


     Non Patentable Inventions

  • Inventions contrary to public order or morality.
  • Plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals
  • Schemes, rules or methods for playing games or performing commercial and industrial activities and computer programs.
  • Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods.
  • Methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, as well as diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body.


     Types of Patents


  1. Utility patents is granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
  2. Design patents is granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
  3.  Plant patents is granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.


     International Patent Classification

  • The International Patent Classification (IPC) is a hierarchical classification system used to classify and search patent documents.
  •  It also serves as an instrument for orderly arrangement of patent documents, a basis for selective dissemination of information and a basis for investigating the state of the art in given fields of technology.
  • The seventh edition of the IPC consists of 8 sections, which are divided into 120 classes, 628 subclasses and approximately 69,000 groups.


  The 8 sections in patent classifications are:

     A. Human Necessities;

     B.   Performing Operations; Transporting;

    C.   Chemistry; Metallurgy;

    D.   Textiles; Paper;

    E.   Fixed Constructions;

    F.    Mechanical Engineering; Lighting; Heating; Weapons; Blasting;

    G.  Physics;

    H.   Electricity.

  You can access the full International Patent classification HERE


     Right to a Patent

  • The right to a patent shall belong to the inventor.
  • If two or more persons have jointly made an invention the right to the patent shall belong to them jointly.
  • In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the right to a patent for an invention made in the execution of a contract of service or employment shall belong to the person having commissioned the work or the employer.
  • Invention made without any relation to an employment or service contract and without the use of the employer’s resources, data means, materials or equipment shall belong solely to the employee or the person commissioned.
  • In the absence of an express term to the contrary, inventions made by the employee or person commissioned which do not come within sub-article 3 of this article and which result from both the personal contribution of the author and the resources, data, means, materials or equipment of the employer shall be owned jointly in equal shares.


     Duration of a Patent

  • A patent shall be granted for an initial period of fifteen years commencing from the filling date of the application for protection. However, the validity of the patent may be extended for  a further period of five years provided that proof is furnished that the invention is being properly worked in Ethiopia.


    Termination of a Patent

       A patent shall terminate if:

  • The patentee surrenders it by a written declaration to the Commission or
  • The annual fee is not paid in due time.


     Surrender of a Patent

  • May be limited to one or more claims of the patent,
  • Shall be immediately registered and published by the Commission, and
  • Which has been subjected to a license shall only take effect upon the submission of a declaration by which the registered licensee consents to the surrender.


     Invalidation of a Patent

       A patent shall be invalidated in whole or in part by the court upon request by an interested party if it is proved that:

  • The subject matter of the patent is not patentable
  • The description does not disclose the invention in a manner sufficiently clear & complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art.
  •    Any invalidated patent in whole or in part shall be deemed void from the date of grant of the patent.



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