News & insights

Qatar: Another GCC Country with PCT Membership

March 12, 2012

The Qatari Patent Office started accepting both local and national phase PCT applications for the first time in the country in August 2012. This is an explicit recognition by the authorities in Qatar of the growing importance of patent protection in the country. The patent framework in Qatar has been idle for a long time in the absence of a pertinent registration system.

The information required at the time of filing is as follows:

1. Name, address and nationality of the applicant.
2. Name, address and nationality of each of the inventors.
3. Title of the invention.
4. A simple copy of the priority application.
5. One set of formal drawings
6. One copy of the specifications, claims and abstract of the invention in English with Arabic translation (the Arabic translation may be submitted at a later stage).

By way of background, the Qatari Patent Law was issued almost six years ago by virtue of Decree no. 30/2006. The law was introduced in compliance with the World Trade Organization agreement and mirrors the provisions of the patents section of the TRIPS agreement. For a long time before the promulgation of Law no. 30/2006 and in the absence of a pertinent local legislation, protection was sought through the Gulf Cooperation Council unified patent registration system. Some sort of protection was also obtained through the publication of cautionary notices at regular intervals in local newspapers.

In contrast to the GCC, Qatar is a member of both the Paris Convention and the PCT. While the GCC respects the 12 month priority convention, applicants seeking more time before going national or regional can add Qatar to the list of GCC member countries who are also PCT members. The other countries in that group are Bahrain, Oman and the UAE. This is certainly good news given the growth Qatar is experiencing and the country’s determination to create non-oil-based industries.

The salient features of Law no. 30 of 2006 as ratified by the Qatari Council of Ministers are as follows:

Type of Patents

Patents shall be available for all inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology.

Examination

As to novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.

Opposition

Opposition may be filed within 60 days from the publication date of the patent in the Official Gazette.

Protection Period

Once granted, a patent will be protected for twenty years from the date of grant.

Compulsory Licensing

If the patent is not exploited within 3 years from the date of grant, it will be subject to compulsory licensing.

Penalties

Patent owners have the right to initiate legal actions against infringers, resulting in both fines and imprisonment.

For the time being and in the absence of regulations implementing the patent law, the Qatari Patent Office will notify applicants of missing documents, pertinent deadlines and authentication formalities in due course. Also, settlement of annuity fees will be decided once the official fees are released.

Briefly, the Patent Cooperation Treaty entered into force in Qatar on August 3, 2011. The instrument of accession contains the declaration that, pursuant to Article 64(5) of the said Treaty, the State of Qatar does not consider itself bound by Article 59 of the said 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 Qatar and any other country of the Treaty, the provisions of Article 59 shall not apply.

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