The Patents Act 1977 (as amended)

Section 33: Effect of registration, etc., on rights in patents

Property in patents and applications, and registration.

  1. (1) Any person who claims to have acquired the property in a patent or application for a patent by virtue of any transaction, instrument or event to which this section applies shall be entitled as against any other person who claims to have acquired that property by virtue of an earlier transaction, instrument or event to which this section applies if, at the time of the later transaction, instrument or event;
  • (a) the earlier transaction, instrument or event was not registered, or

  • (b) in the case of any application which has not been published, notice of the earlier transaction, instrument or event had not been given to the comptroller, and

  • (c) in any case, the person claiming under the later transaction, instrument or event, did not know of the earlier transaction, instrument or event.

(2) Subsection (1) above shall apply equally to the case where any person claims to have acquired any right in or under a patent or application for a patent, by virtue of a transaction, instrument or event to which this section applies, and that right is incompatible with any such right acquired by virtue of an earlier transaction, instrument or event to which this section applies.

(3) This section applies to the following transactions, instruments and events;

  • (a) the assignment or assignation of a patent or application for a patent, or a right in it;

  • (b) the mortgage of a patent or application or the granting of security over it;

  • (c) the grant, assignment or assignation of a licence or sub-licence, or mortgage of a licence or sub-licence, under a patent or application;

  • (d) the death of the proprietor or one of the proprietors of any such patent or application or any person having a right in or under a patent or application and the vesting by an assent of personal representatives of a patent, application or any such right; and

  • (e) any order or directions of a court or other competent authority;

  • (i) transferring a patent or application or any right in or under it to any person; or

(ii) that an application should proceed in the name of any person; and in either case the event by virtue of which the court or authority had power to make any such order or give any such directions.

(4) Where an application for the registration of a transaction, instrument or event has been made, but the transaction, instrument or event has not been registered, then, for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) above, registration of the application shall be treated as registration of the transaction, instrument or event.