The two most commonly asked questions in connection with patent protection in Bahrain are whether such type of protection is possible and how is it achieved. This article addresses these two questions by providing a brief overview of the current patent protection situation in the country. In particular, a short discussion follows regarding local patent applications in Bahrain as well as national phase PCT patent applications.

Local Patent Applications with a 6-Month Priority Period:
The Patent Office of Bahrain is currently accepting local patent applications but with a priority period of 6 months and not 12 months, pursuant to the regulations implementing Patent Law no. 14/2006. When the Bahraini Patent Office will adopt the convention priority of 12 months is not clear.

National Phase PCT Applications Designating Bahrain: The Bahraini Patent Office is currently accepting PCT applications designating Bahrain and entering into the national phase. The PCT came into force in the country back in March 18, 2007, three months after the deposit of the Bahraini government of the instrument of accession with the World Intellectual Property Organization on December 18, 2006. It is worth noting that Decree no. 44 of 2005 (published in Official Gazette no. 2722 on January 18, 2006) marked the approval of the Bahraini Government to the country’s accession to the PCT and called on the Bahraini authorities concerned to deposit the instrument of accession to the Treaty in accordance with its provisions.

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.

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.

The Filing Requirements for a national phase PCT application are as follows:
1. Power of attorney, simply signed.
2. Certificate of incorporation, legalized.
3. Copy of PCT Request.
4. Copy of International Publication.
5. Copy of International Search Report.
6. Copy of International Preliminary Examination Report (if available).

The time limits which would normally apply under PCT Articles 22(1) and 39(1)(a) are:
Under PCT Chapter I: 30 months from the priority date
Under PCT Chapter II: 30 months from the priority date

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