A letters patent shall be granted by Tunis in accordance with the provisions of this law, for every new creation industrially exploitable, within a determined period.


Every new creation, whether in connection with new industrial products, new industrial ways or means or new application of industrial known ways or method in order to obtain interest.


No patents shall be granted to the inventions which involves means of creating new drawings, new financial processes or involves immorality or public disorder. Also no patents shall be granted to inventions relating to foodstuffs, medical drugs or pharmaceutical preparation, unless these preparations are made in a special way or special chemistry processes. In the latter case the patent shall not be granted for the products themselves but for the method of making them.


In Accordance with the act dated 31st March, 1956 the protection period of the invention will be 5, 10 or 15 years. An annual fee shall be paid from the second year of the protection till the expiration of the predetermined period. This fee shall be paid annually in the amount of 2500 Francs otherwise the patent shall be cancelled because of non payment of the prescribed fees within a certain period.

(Amended by Act dated 31st March 1956)

When filing the application an amount of 2500 Francs shall be paid as application and publication fees.




To obtain a patent for the invention, the inventor should present by himself or through his agent either personally or by registered mail addressed to our Great Minister the following documents:

First Patent application showing his address in Tunis.

Second Description of the invention and the method of its exploitation.

Third Drawing of the invention illustrating the said description.

Fourth A file including all of the required documents. The applications are to be entered, numbered in order, according to the date of their receipt in a special register showing therein the serial number of the application, name of applicant and date and hour of receipt. The applicant can get an official free of charge receipt.

(Replaced by the provisions of Article I of the act dated 1st March 1956)

The Patent Application should be limited to a description of one original invention only including the subsidiaries and examples for the processes of its use.

The period of the protection of the invention will be evidenced in the Application and restricted by the periods mentioned in Article IV without any condition. A Patent application shall be accompanied by a detailed specification in an illustrative manner.

The said description in good, clear, and clean form may be in French or Arabic language. The applicant must put his signature at the top and bottom of each page. The weight and the capacity shall be described in the specification in kilos and meters. The drawings shall be drawn by ink in metric measure. A copy of the specification and drawings shall be accompanied by the application. All of the documents shall be signed by the Applicant or his agent. In the latter case a Power of Attorney shall be submitted.


The application shall be accompanied with an official receipt of tax amounting to 100 Riyal concerning the first annual charges, otherwise the application shall not be accepted. The prescribed official charges cannot be refunded.


In the required documents are absolutely complete and no reason for refusal of the application according to Article III, V and VII of this law exist, the Minister shall have it advertised in the official Gazette. The advertisement shall contain all of the particulars in detail within two months from the date of advertisement. Notice of opposition may be given to the Minister otherwise our Great Minister or his vice shall issue his decision stating that the application is correct and free from any rejection. This decision shall be recorded in a register named 'Patents Register' this decision shall be delivered to the Applicant as Letters Patent. In the meantime it shall be published in Official Gazette.


The Letters patent shall be granted to the Applicants at their own responsibilities without giving any security relating to the correctness, novelty or identity of the invention.


The Patentee shall have the right to submit an application to modify or to make additions in his invention within the period of the Letters Patent in accordance with the Articles V and VI of this act, and then these modifications or additions shall be recorded in the same manner as the Letters Patent and form the expiry date of the opposition. This patent of addition shall only be valid up to the expiration period of the original patent.


If the Patentee wants to apply for additional patent for a period of 5, 10 or 15 years instead of an additional patent which shall only be valid up to the expiration period of the original patent the requirements mentioned in the Articles V, VI and VII shall be completed and the charges cited in Article IV shall be paid.


After completion of the requirements, no one other than the Patentee can obtain a patent of addition concerning amendment, improvement or additions in an original patent of invention, however this patent of addition may be granted to any person who presents an application within the first year in a sealed envelope addressed to our great Minister and at the end of the year the seal shall be opened and the patent of Addition will be granted in accordance note right more than others to obtain the patent of addition within the first year.


The Applicant, who was granted a Patent of Invention concerning a subject which had been previously patented, has no right to exploit his patent. The first licensee has also no right to exploit the new patent which had been licensed.

(Replaced by provisions of act Jan. 24, 1954)

The right to a patent is transferred partially or wholly. The transfer of all or part of the ownership, the license and the mortgage of an invention shall be recorded by written contract otherwise it shall be invalid.

These contract shall not be rejected unless they shall be entered in the a Register devoted to the Certificates of the Industrial property office of the Ministry of Commerce. This office would have a copy of such contract.

Charges of 1500 Francs shall be paid for any registration or cancellation in the Certificate's Register.

Charges of 300 Francs shall be paid for the registration of each contract concerning the transfer of the ownership of the Invention except on cases of death.

Any person may obtain a copy of the registrations entered in the Certificates Register, extracts from the mortgage certificate or a certificate proving that no registration occurred in a certain subject. Charges of 360 Francs should be paid to obtain such document.


The Assignee or the Licensee of the original patent shall have the rights concerning the patent of addition. The Patentee of his successors shall have the same rights of the patent of addition after the date of the transfer of the ownership. All those having these rights may obtain an Extract from these patents by paying 20 Riyals.


Every person may inspect the applications for registration and the documents attached thereto without charges. Copies or Extracts of such applications and documents may be given to every person who will pay the determined fees.


A list of the titles of patents within a year shall be published in the Official Gazette in the last month of the next year.


If inventions are accepted in General Exhibition permitted by the Ministry, the owners whether Tunisians or foreigners may obtain a patent when they present the Great Minister an application including the specification of the invention.


The application mentioned in the last Article shall give the applicant the same rights of the letters patent as from the acceptance date in the exhibition up to three months after the end of the said exhibition. The applicant shall have the right to apply for letters patent within such period.


The above application shall not be accepted after the expiry of the first month of the Exhibition. The application should be presented to the Great Minister within the said month accompanied by a curate specification to be protected. Examples or drawings illustrating specification may be filed if necessary.

All of the application received shall be recorded in a special register together with the decisions which have been taken in the same respect with the Minister. Every person may inspect the said register.



Foreigners shall have the right to apply for patents.


The same requirements and conditions shall be required also in the case mentioned in the last article.


The inventor having a foreign patent, shall have a patent in Tunis, taking into consideration that the term of protection will lapsed with the expiry date of the foreign patent.



No patent shall be granted in the following cases:

1. The invention or its use is not new.
2. The inventions is not patentable in accordance with Article III.
3. The inventions relating to educational or scientific means where the industrial uses thereof are not identified.
4. Invention which involves immorality or public disorder.
5. If the title of invention to be patented is not indicating the true subject of the invention.
6. If the specification accompanied by the patent application does not illustrate the invention as to allow industrialists to apply it.
7. Patents which have been granted in a manner conflicting with article 12 of this act, as well, the patents of addition which have not related to the original patent.


Every invention invented locally or abroad and had already been published on a sufficient time before the application shall not be considered new.

(Replaced and amended in accordance with two orders dated August 31 and June 6, 1931)

The rights based on an invention patent shall be terminated in the following cases:

First: Failure to pay the annual fees before the beginning of each year of its protection period, six months may be tolerated within which the applicant will pay the annual fees with a fine of 5 Francs for each month of delay. Moreover he just pay additional fees of 5 Francs for the third month.

These fines should be paid simultaneously with the annual fees.

Second: The inventions have not been exploited in Tunis within two years following the issue of the letters patent or the exploitation has stopped for two successive years unless the applicant presents reasons of the exploitation failure.

Third: The applicant import products which has been manufactured abroad and the same was registered in this letters patent. However, the following matters are admissible.

1. Designs of machines.
2. Foreign products provided for general exhibition or experiments agreed by our government.


Any person unjustifiably quoting on products, bills, his stores, advertising materials, plates or packing materials etc. particulars which lead to the belief that he has obtained any patent of invention or, in spite of having already the letters patent, he has not mentioned words without guarantee of Tunisian State. He shall be punished by a fine from 50 Riyal to 1000 Riyal. Which will be multiplied in case of repeating.

(Replaced in accordance with provisions of the act dated 1st March 1956)

Every person concerned shall have the right to apply to the primary French Court or the Administrative Tunisian Court to annul a patent.


Article 43 concerns the proceedings adopted in the court in case of annulment, infringement or imitation.

Date on 10 ze Alkaada 1306 (July 8, 1889)

General Provisions for the Enforcement of Patent law
(Order dated December 1888)


The application for patent shall be submitted together with the payment of the first annuity charges and a Power of Attorney to the Patent Office. A stamped envelope should be also filed to the patent office containing the following document:

1. The aforementioned patent application.
2. A specification of the invention in two copies.
3. Drawings (if any).
4. The file of the said documents.

It should be noted that:

a. The application should refer to one subject only in detailed description.
b. The period of protection should be mentioned.
c. A brief specification of the invention.
d. The complete specification should be corrected.

On the top of the original specification, the word 'original' should be cited and the word 'Copy' should be showed on top of the specification copy. The specification should be in French language and no abrasions, cancellation, change and no words between lines have occurred. The weights and the measurements which may be mentioned in the specification should be in the scales used in France. The cancelled words should be retyped and a signature of the applicant or his agent should be put beside it.

The copies of drawings should be:

1. Identical.
2. Drawn by ink.
3. Free from any dirt or change.
4. Corrected by the applicant or his agent.

The examples and samples which have to be added to illustrate specification should not be enclosed by the specification itself but should be contained in a separate envelope and filed simultaneously with the said documents.


The aforementioned article shall be applicable in case of Patent of Addition, except that the official charged is paid for once.

(Replaced in accordance with March 4, 1953)

Charges concerning the typing of the specification and preparing drawings should be paid as follows:

A specification of invention for original letters Patent 360.00F
A specification of invention for Patent of Addition 300.00F
A copy or drawing for each four hours not less than 120.00F


The Said amounts charged in respect of typing the specification or preparing drawings should be given to the typists or drawers.


Applications shall be entered in a special register with its original pages and in its loose pages the following:

1. Serial number of application.
2. Name of the applicant.
3. The charges paid for the specification and drawings.

The loose pages includes an application for payment signed by the Manager of the Patent Office and also a payment Certificate signed by General Cashier. The applicant should present the said certificate to the Manager of the Patent Office.


The copies of specification or drawing are not available unless the Applicant presents the Payment Certificate.


The said amounts are kept by the General Cashier. In the end of every three months of the administrative year the Manager of the patent office shall issue an Official Gazette concerning the accepted applications filed within the said period.

The Official Gazette should be prepared counting 7 columns in which the following particular should be mentioned.

1. Serial number of the application.
2. Date of filing the Application.
3. The Applicant name.
4. The kind of copy (either specification or drawing)
5. The price of the copy.
6. The sum which has been paid.
7. The amounts which shall be charged to typists and drawers.

The said Official Gazette should be corrected by the financial manager who gives his instructions to pay the amounts to the typists or drawers.


The remaining amounts which has been delivered to the Manager of the Patent Office within one year after its payments, should be owned by State.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property Bulletins

For further information you make also like to view the Intellectual Property Bulletins published monthly by The Abu-Ghazaleh Group.