The new Spanish Patent Act, amending the current 1986 Spanish Patent Act, will come into effect on 1 April 2017.
The highlights of the new law includes provisions concerning the application, prosecution and patentability of a patent, but also includes important amendments to the current regulation of Utility Models.
The new law establishes a single administrative procedure for the grant of patents requiring prior examination on the merits. The new procedure, which harmonizes the requirements for obtaining an application date to the PLT, also integrates an opposition procedure before the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office. It is a post-grant, contentious,inter partes, administrative procedure intended to allow any Spanish patent to be opposed.
The new regulation also extends the scope of protection of utility models to chemical products and compositions, and replaces pre-grant oppositions with a post-grant opposition system. Additionally, the relevant state of the art will not be limited to Spain. The State of the Art for Utility Models, under the new law, is therefore said to be absolute.