GCC Region: January 6, 2021 marked the first day on which the regional GCC Patent Office (GCCPO) stopped accepting new patent applications claiming a 12-month priority. For those applicants that filed PCT applications as of that date and are considering the Arabian Gulf market for extending their patents, July 6, 2022 marks the first of 30-month deadlines for nationalizing such patents in each GCC member state, namely: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Now is a good time for applicants to re-assess their filing strategy and decide on the importance of each of these markets to their business today and twenty years down the road. It is worth pointing out that at the national level, the patent offices in the respective countries have taken different measures to address the potential in increased number of filings and examination.

Saudi Arabia: As a recent signatory to the Hague Convention on Apostille, the Kingdom deposited its instruments to the Convention. As of yet, there is still no clear guidance from the relevant authorities on the validity of documents with an Apostille stamp only versus those with the foreign embassy legalization stamp.

UAE: Following the publication of a new industrial property law and its related regulations, there is an expectation that the Ministry of Economy may soon publish a revised list of fees addressing such matters as accelerated examination, but also, revising the matter of re-examination especially as it relates to minor often non-technical, objections or remarks issued in an office action.