According to recent studies, the total number of GCC patent applications which were filed at the Patent Office since inception up to May 2013 is reported to be around 24,000, with an increasing trend witnessed over the past three years.

– Please click here to review the patents filed by the GCC Patent Office from 1998 till 2013.

The GCC patent law was originally drafted in 1987, with implementing regulations published in 1996. An amended GCC patent law was approved in November 1999 and came into force on August 15, 2000 following the publication of its implementing regulations on May 15, 2000.

With a centralized GCC Patent Office in place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a single centralized filing in the GCC Patent Office will be sufficient to protect the patent in all GCC member states. This means that an applicant will not be required to validate the GCC patent application in each GCC country separately, unlike what is done for European patents. Even more, annuities are settled as one payment for all GCC countries and not in each country separately.  The GCC patent system only covers GCC member states and so patent protection in the remaining countries from our region should be sought in each country separately.

Filing Requirements
1. Power of attorney, legalized.
2. 1 copy of the specifications in English with 2 copies of the Arabic translation.
3. 2 sets of drawings in Arabic and 2 in English.
4. Deed of assignment from the inventor(s), legalized.
5. Certificate of incorporation, extract form the commercial register or certificate of good standing, legalized.
6. Copy of priority document, if priority is claimed, certified.

Items 2 and 3 must be submitted at the time of filing. Documents 1, 4, 5, and 6 may be submitted within 3 months from filing date.

Decisions to grant a patent are published in the Official Gazette. Oppositions may be filed within 90 days from publication date.
Protection Term
The term of protection is 20 years from filing date.

Novelty Requirement
Novelty is relative. Disclosure of the invention without the knowledge or the consent of the applicant shall not be taken into consideration if it occurred within the 12-months preceding the filing date of the patent application. Also, disclosure in an official or officially recognized national/international exhibition shall not be taken into consideration if it occurred within the 6-months preceding the filing date of the patent application.

Registration Time Frame
The time frame for completing the registration process is approximately 3 years. 

It will not be possible to enter into a regional phase PCT. However, separate national phase PCT applications may be filed in Bahrain (PCT member since March 18, 2007), Oman (PCT member since October 26, 2001),  UAE (PCT member since March 10, 1999) and Qatar (PCT member since August 03, 2011).

Paris Convention Priority
The GCC patent system is not a signatory to the Paris Convention. However, the GCC Patent Office honors the Paris Convention priority rules and a GCC application can claim priority from a prior convention application as if the GCC were a signatory to the Paris Convention.

It is possible for granted and published patent to be searched.
Applications are examined as to form, novelty, and industrial applicability.

A maintenance fee is due annually and is payable the first 3 months of each calendar year following the year the patent application was filed. There is a 3-month grace period for late payment with a surcharge.

Compulsory License
A patent has to be worked. If the patent is not being fully exploited by the patentee in the GCC member states within 3 years from the date grant, then it will be subject to compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law.

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