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Limits to patentability in Nicaragua

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atents of invention can be obtained in Nicaragua for products or processes. Nicaraguan Law No. 354 of Patents of Invention, Utility Models and Industrial Design defines a product as any substance, composition or matter, including biological, apparatus, machine or other object, or part of them. A process is defined as any method, operation or set of operations or application or use of a product.

Notwithstanding the above, the Law sets limits on the subject matter that can be patented.

Article 6 of the Nicaraguan Patent Law lists the subject matter that does not constitute an invention as follows:

• Simple discoveries. For the purpose of the Patent Law a “simple discovery” is finding something as it exists in nature, without involving innovation.
• Matter or energy as found in nature.
• Biological process as they occur in nature, and which do not involve human intervention to produce plants or animals, except for microbiological processes.
• Scientific theories and mathematical methods. Plants obtained from essentially biological processes may be protected under the provisions of Law No. 318 for the Protection of Plant Varieties.
• Purely aesthetic creations, literary and artistic works, which may be protected under the Copyright Law.
• Economic, advertising or business plans, principles, rules or methods, and those related to purely mental or intellectual activities or games; computer programs as such. Computer programs may be protected under the provisions of the Copyright Law. Business plans may be protected by entering into non-disclosure and/or non-competition agreements. The Patent Law, as well as Law No. 601, on the Promotion of Competition contain provisions for the protection of business and industrial secrets.

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Article 7 of the Patent Law lists subject matter that does constitute an invention, but it is excluded from patentability for reasons of public interest:

• Animal breeds.
• Therapeutic, surgical or diagnostic methods applicable to humans or animals.
• Inventions whose commercial exploitation must be prevented to protect public order or morality.
• Inventions whose commercial exploitation must be prevented to protect human, animal or plant health or life or to preserve the environment; for these purposes, the exclusion of patenting is not considered applicable because it is prohibited, limited or conditioned by a legal or administrative provision.

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