Annual Technical Report 2004 on Patent Information Activities submitted by Malawi (SCIT/ATR/PI/2004/MW)


Where URLs are requested below, it is preferred that either URLs which are likely to remain stable over time (three years or more) are provided, or home (main) page URLs are provided with a short explanation of how to access the corresponding information.

The term "patent" covers utility models and Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs). Offices which issue design patents should report their design patent information activities in their Annual Technical Reports on Industrial Design Information Activities.


I. Evolution of patent activities

Changes experienced in terms of application filings and grants with respect to the previous year

In 2004, 236 patents were filed. 231 of these were lodged under ARIPO. This shows an increase of 12.38% in comparison with the previous year. The distribution of foreign fillings by country of origin of applicant showed a leadership of the United States of America followed by France. As regards patent grants, the office experienced a decrease of 18.68% in relation with the previous year when 91 patent applications were granted.

Trends or areas experiencing rapid changes with respect to the previous year

Patent applications: an increase of 12.38% in comparison with the previous year. As regards patents grants, the office experienced a decrease of 18.68% in relation with the previous year when 91 patent applications were granted.

II. Matters concerning the generation, reproduction, distribution and use of primary and secondary sources of patent information

Publishing, printing, copying (main types of publications of the office in the field of patent information, etc.)

The Malawi patent office publishes new patent applications, accepted applications and granted patents through local patents journal. Information published in the journal includes patent application number, applicant filing date, title of invention, date of acceptance, International Patent Classification (IPC) Patent number priority date, patentee, name of agent etc. Technical content of the document is made available to the public for inspection in our library or can be supplied as a photocopy on request.

Main types of announcements of the Office in the field of patent information

Announcements e.g. renewals, assignments, official notices, rulings (in case of objections) are also done in the journal. Copies of the journals are sent to ARIPO, WIPO, Japanese Patent Office and Intellectual Property Offices.

Mass storage media used (paper, microforms, optical storage, etc.)

Main mode of storage of patent information is in paper format.

Word processing and office automation

Word processing is done on typewriters.

(New) techniques used for the generation of patent information (printing, recording, photocomposing, etc.)

No new techniques.

III. Matters concerning abstracting, classifying, reclassifying and indexing of technical information contained in patent documents

Abstracting, reviewing, translating

Malawi Patent Office does not abstract technical information from patent documents.

Classification and reclassification activities; Classification system used, e.g., International Patent Classification (IPC), other classification (please indicate whether or not patent documents are classified by your Office and, if so, which classification is used)

International Patent Classification (IPC) is used at the office by the examiners.

Coordinate indexing (domestic deep indexing systems, keyword indexing)

We use keyword indexing.

Hybrid system indexing

No, we do not use hybrid system indexing.

Bibliographic data and full-text processing for search purposes

Bibliographic data is used for search purposes.

IV. Search file establishment and upkeep

File building

Registers for applications and granted patents are kept.


Registers for applications and granted patents are updated regularly.

Storage, including mass storage media

Storage is in paper form and each of the new patent application received, a fresh file is opened, in addition to the registers.

Documentation from other offices maintained and/or considered part of the available search file

The office receives patent documentation s from WIPO on CD, DVD and sometimes on paper form. Documentations include: Patent Specifications from United States of America, Britain , France, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Italy, India, Australia, South Africa. Periodicals and publicatiobs are also received at the office from other intellectual property offices. eg. ARIPO, Japanese patent office.

V. Activities in the field of computerized and other mechanized search systems

In-house systems (online/offline)

Retrieval of information on CDs and DVDs -ROM which include: Espace Access Mimosa, Espace World Mimosa, Espace Globat Pat, Patent Abstracts of Japan is done on request.

External databases

Activities relating to WIPO's (IPRAS) Industrial Property Registration and Administration System are underway and progressing.

Administrative management systems (e.g., register, legal status, statistics, administrative support, etc.)

Statistics are prepared in electronic form by Examining Officers.

Equipment used (hardware, including the types of terminal and network used, and software), carriers used

Operating System name is MS Windows 2000 Professional
Version: 5
Optical device: CD / DVD- ROM

Existing online thesauri; their structure, presentation and usefulness for computerized searches

No existing online for computerized searches.

VI. Administration of the industrial property office library and services available to the public (relating to facilities, e.g., for lodging applications, for assisting clients on searching procedures, for obtaining official publications and registry extracts)

Planning, administration, automation, security, buildings

Applicants seeking protection of their inventions file applications through International Bureau ( in case of PCT applications ) or any member state of PCT, or ARIPO office or any contracting member state of ARIPO ( in case required to be represented by the Agent (s) (Patent Attorneys).

Collecting, acquisitions, preparation

Applicants are required to be represented by the Agent(s) ( Patent Attorneys)

Collection management, preservation

Applications are currently filed in paper form.

Interlibrary lending, resource sharing, networks of patent libraries in the country

No networks of patent libraries in Malawi.

Information services available to the public (including computerized services and search files contained in libraries remote from your Office and patent information posted by your Office on the World Wide Web)

Searches are conducted within the office. Personal aided search is allowed for interested applicants. Any document concerning patents can be obtained on request from the library.

VII. Matters concerning mutual exchange of patent documentation and information

International or regional cooperation in the exchange of machine-readable information, e.g., bibliographic data, abstract and/or full text information

Patent journals on paper form are sent to WIPO, Japanese patent office and ARIPO in exchange for their gazettes and journals respectively.

Medium used for exchange of priority documents

Patent world is received on subscription in paper form.

Medium allowed for filing applications

Filling of applications is done in paper form.

Implementation of the Statement of Principles Concerning the Changeover to Electronic Data Carriers for the Exchange of Patent Documents (please provide a status report on the extent to which your Office has changed over to electronic data carriers for the exchange of patent documents)

Publications and periodical received on donations include: WIPO magazine, intellectual property laws and treaties, South African Intellectual Property Newsletter, Journal of the Japanese Group of AIPPI, who Drug information, PCT Newletter PCT gazettes, Patent studies.

On CD and DVD the office receives European and PCT International Patent Application Bibliography,Espace Global Pat, Patent Abstracts of Japan, WIPO handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation and Espace World Mimosa.

VIII. Other relevant matters concerning education and training in, and promotion of, the use of patent information, including technical assistance to developing countries

Training courses for national and foreign participants, use of audiovisual means

During the period under review, the office organised two workshops sensitizing the business community on the importance of intellectual property rights. Office staff were guest speakers.

Assistance to developing countries (sending consultants and experts, receiving trainees from developing countries, etc.)


Promotional activities (seminars, exhibitions, visits, advertising, etc.)

The office organized two workshops sensitizing the business community on the importance of intellectual property rights. Office staff were guest speakers.

Studies to identify trends in new technology, e.g., by the use of patent statistics, preparation of monographs, etc.


Assistance furnished by offices to facilitate the changing over of receiving offices to electronic data carriers for the exchange of patent documents (see also sub-item 4 of item VI, above)

The receives CDs and DVDs from WIPO and Japanese Patent Office. IPRAS (Industrial Property Registration and Administration System is underway and progressing.

IX. Other relevant matters

In the year 2004 three officers attended workshops and conferences in the following countries:-

(a) WTO Regional Workshop on TRIPS for English Speaking Countries in Sandtown, Republic of South Africa.

(b) Jitap Subregional Workshop on the Dessemination of Toolkit for Module II on Reference Centres and National Enquiry Points in Gaborone, Botswana.

(c ) WTO Council for TRIPS in Geneva, Switzerland

(d ) Ministrial Conference on Intellectual Property for Least Development Countries in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

(e ) WIPO 40th series of Assemblies in Geneva, Switzerland.


1.Classification is allotting one or more classification symbols (e.g., IPC symbols) to a patent application, either before or during search and examination, which symbols are then published with the patent application.


2.Preclassification is allotting an initial broad classification symbol (e.g., IPC class or subclass, or administrative unit) to a patent application, using human or automated means for internal administrative purposes (e.g., routing an application to the appropriate examiner).  Usually preclassification is applied by the administration of an office.


3.Reclassification is the reconsideration and usually the replacement of one or more previously allotted classification symbols to a patent document, following a revision and the entry into force of a new version of the Classification system (e.g., the IPC).  The new symbols are available on patent databases.