Aisha Nkundwanabake

Associate

Bachelor Degree in Law,
Université du Lac Tanganyika
(Bujumbura)

Brice Irakoze

Lawyer

LL.M. in Business and Corporate Law,
Symbiosis International University (Pune, India)

LL.B., Université Lumière de Bujumbura

When you make an invention, whether you are a private individual or a professional, before any exploitation or marketing, it is imperative to protect it. The only solution that is required in this case is the filing of a patent that will give an exclusive right to the invention.

The invention is in the domain of Intellectual Property. Intellectual property is a name given to the property that is a result of a creation of a human mind.

An invention must be newreflect a creative characterbeing of industrial applicability(industry: all economic activity leading to the production of goods and services covering including craft, agriculture, fishing and services).

The patent therefore limits the rights of third parties. According to the provisions of the Burundian Law, the patent on the invention offers a monopoly for 20 years on the territory that has been the subject of demand, in return for the disclosure of the invention (as opposed to the knowledge, which is kept secret).

  1. The interest for the company to protect his invention

Technical innovations, especially in times of economic crisis, are source of development and growth for most companies. By protecting his invention, the company:

  • Creates an asset

In a time where the intangible takes a major place in our societies, Intellectual Property provides the transformation of intellectual capital, in essence difficult to quantify in one tangible item, in a concrete capital that can appear on the balance sheet of the companies as well as the buildings. These elements, once identified, allow the acquisition of a monopoly of exploitation with a duration, scope and geographic variables thus ensuring the profitability of intangible investments made by the company.

  • Cultivates its difference and protect his inventiveness

Intellectual Property rights give the holder a right of exclusive use, prohibiting any third party to make use of his creation. In case of illegal use, the right holder may claim legal reparation for any damage he has suffered as a result of such use.

If it is not protected, an invention can be exploited by competitors, often at a lower cost. The inventor will be unable to reward investment, often financial, having allowed this innovation. Therefore, the invention allows to protect an innovation in the company from of all the counterfeits.

Innovation also helps companies to appear in the eyes of consumers and investors as a dynamic society, resolutely turned towards the future.

Finally, if the protection of innovation allows companies to effectively combat counterfeiting of their products by making the legitimate rights on innovations and creations that comprise, it also allows the entrepreneurs to ensure that they don’t break themselves rights of third parties.

  1. The process to get the patent of an invention

The constitution of the file and the administrative procedures are crucial to get the patent of an invention.  One has to come along with the file of his invention to pretend to be eligible for legal protection. The file consists of a description of the inventionclearly and concisely, the claims defining the scope of the protection sought and an abstract.

The drafting of a claim is particularly sensitive, so that a protection may be denied because of a poor drafting. So, one should pay attention to this aspect of the claim.

In addition, there will be a period of review of the file until the competent authority delivers the patent to the person requesting protection. This approach can be entirely done by a lawyer who is specialized in Intellectual Property.

ConclusionThe protection of an invention is essential for the development of economic activities for the inventor and for society in general. Indeed, the lack of protection would encourage the non-production of some goods. Burundian legislation on Industrial Property is provided for this purpose.

It is also important to consider that the drafting of a patent requires both legal and technical skills because every word counts and a poorly written application may protect inadequately, may delay the process of the procedure or may be rejected.

Therefore, the recourse to a lawyer, specialist in Industrial Property or in patent seems imperative.