Tunisia has been a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) since December 10, 2001. Any international PCT application made as of the aforementioned date may designate Tunisia.
Once an application for the registration of a patent is filed, it is examined as to form only. The Tunisian Patent Office does not carry out any examination as to novelty or merit of the invention.
A patent application is published in the Al-Muwassafat quarterly gazette published by the Institut National de la Normalisation et de la Propriete Industrielle (INNORPI), together with a summary of the contents thereof. The grant of a patent is also published. There are no provisions in the law as to appealing the decisions of the Registrar.
The provisions of the patent law in Tunisia stipulate that a patent application should be filed before the invention has been published, or used, or has otherwise received sufficient publicity to allow it to be put into practice either in Tunisia or abroad.
A patent is valid for 20 years as of the date of filing the patent application. The validity of PCT applications is calculated from the international filing date. Annuities are payable as of the date of filing. Annuities are payable in the anniversary date of filing. A late fine, which may be calculated at the rate of 8% of the due annuity, is payable when the annuity is paid within the 6-month grace period, per annuity and per month.
The right to a patent may be assigned or transferred through succession. The assignment of patent applications and granted patents must be made in writing. An assignment shall have no effect against third parties unless it has been entered in the relevant records of the Patent Office.
Working of patents in Tunisia is an official requirement. Working must be effected within four years as of the date of filing or three years as of the date of the grant of the patent.