Limits to patentability in Nicaragua

Patents 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.

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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