Patent Law to be amended for a second time

The current Indonesian patent law – the Law number 13 of 2016 concerning Patent (“Law 13/2026”) will soon be amended for a second time since its enactment on August 26, 2016. The respective amendment bill has been shortlisted in the national legislation program of the Indonesian House of Representatives (“DPR-RI”) since 2023 following an academic draft that was initiated in 2018.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, the Director General of Intellectual Property, Min Usihen, attended a hearing session at the Parliament Compound in Jakarta, which was held by Commission II of DPR-RI to specifically discuss the second amendment of the Patent Law. In her official statement during the hearing, Min cited technological development in various sectors of trade has increased the need for the proposed amendment, along with several shortcomings recognized in the current law. Among the shortcomings cited by the Director General are too restrictive definition of invention, lack of clarity in the scope of computer program’s patentability threshold, patent implementation by the government that is so far limited for domestic purpose only, and novelty grace period that is considered too short.

Min also expected that the proposed amendment would bring the Law 13/2016 more aligned with the TRIPs agreement, as well as rules implemented by other fellow members of both the WTO and WIPO.

Law 13/2016 is the third in a series of patent law enacted by Indonesia since its independence. The first patent law enacted within the territory of what is now Indonesia was the Netherland’s Octrooiwet in 1910, which was also ratified in the colony that then was known as the Dutch East Indies. As Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945 and its sovereignty recognized in 1949, the existing patent law was rendered unenforceable since its heavy dependence to Netherlands-based examination authority.

Indonesia’s first national patent law was enacted in 1989 (Law 6/1989), which was subsequently amended in 1997 (Law 13/1997) following Indonesia’s ratification of the TRIPs Agreement as part of the WTO Agreement. In 2001, Indonesia introduced a new patent law (Law 14/2001) to replace Law 6/1989 and its 1997 amendment. The law existed until being replaced by the current law in 2016.

Law 13/2016 contained a number of new provisions that were considered quite progressive at the time of enactment. Those provisions, among others, were obligation to disclose the source of genetic resource materials or traditional knowledge in the patent description, as well as acknowledgement to inventors of inventions filed by government institutions, to the extent that they are granted rights to claim co-ownership of the patent instead of merely being named as inventors.

First amendment to Law 13/2016 occurred within the scope of the Omnibus Law no. 11/2020 concerning Works Creation, wherein the obligatory time frame to either grant or refuse application for utility models is cut short to six months from the filing date instead of the initial twelve months. However the Omnibus Law amendment is still inadequate to catch up with recent development, which render the proposed second amendment necessary.


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