The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization welcomed the deposit of the instrument of accession of Bahrain to the Patent Cooperation Treaty on December 18, 2006. The said Treaty will enter into force in Bahrain on March 18, 2007.

Bahrain is thus bound by the Treaty and consequently, any “international” patent application may include the designation of Bahrain under its country code “BH”. Furthermore, nationals and residents of Bahrain may file “international” patent applications under the Treaty. It is also worth noting that Bahrain may be elected for the purpose of international preliminary examination, as it will be bound by Chapter II of the Treaty.

The instrument of accession, however, declares that pursuant to Article 64(5) of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Bahrain does not consider itself bound by the provisions of Article 59 of the Treaty. According to Article 59, any dispute between two or more countries of the Treaty concerning the interpretation or application of the Treaty or its regulations, not settled by negotiation, may, by any one of the countries concerned, be brought before the International Court of Justice unless the countries concerned agree on some other method of settlement. Therefore, with regard to any dispute between Bahrain and any other country of the Treaty, the provisions of Article 59 shall not apply.

Please note that Bahrain’s Ministerial Decree no. 44 of 2005 (published in Official Gazette no. 2722 on January 18, 2006) marked the government’s approval of the country’s accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and called on the Bahraini authorities concerned to deposit the instrument of accession to the Treaty in accordance with its provisions. Furthermore, Bahraini Patent Law no. 14 of 2006, issued on May 28, 2006, introduces provisions regarding the entry into the national phase of PCT applications in Bahrain, once Bahrain accedes to the Treaty.

By way of background, the Patent Cooperation Treaty now has a total of 136 contracting member states. Contracting member states from our region include: Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, India, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

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