The new Patents, Utility Models, Integrated Circuits and Trade Secrets Law No. 2 of 2011 of Yemen, which was issued on January 12, 2011 has recently been published in the country’s Official Gazette (publication date: May 4, 2011 and publication number: 3 and 4). The new Law entered into force on April 12, 2011. The main features of this law include the following:

1. Patents

– Absolute novelty is required. Any act that makes an invention available to the public, no matter where in the world, before the filing date or priority date has the effect of barring the invention from being patented (Article 5).

– The employer will be the patentee if the invention is made in execution of a contract or a commitment for the execution of inventive efforts, or if the employee would not have developed the subject matter of the protection had he not used facilities, means or data made available through his employment. The employee’s has the right to receive a remuneration to be agreed upon with the consent of both parties, or assessed in light of the various circumstances of the contract of employment, and the economic importance of the subject matter of the protection. A patent application filed by the employee within one year from the date of termination of employment will be considered as if submitted during employment (Article 8).

– The opposition has been reduced from 6 months to 90 days from publication date (Article 11).

– The term of protection is extended to 20 years from filing date, instead of 15 years as per the provisions of the previous law (Article 13).

– A patent has to be worked. If the patent is not being fully exploited by the patentee within 4 years from filing date or 3 years from the date of grant, then the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law (Article 33).

2. Utility Models

– Conversion from and to a patent application is possible (Article 21).

– The term of protection is 7 years from filing date (Article 22).

3. Integrated Circuits

– Integrated circuits are defined as the design of the disposition of any interconnections and the elements for the making of an integrated circuit product, or the disposition of any elements and the interconnections for the making of a customization layer or layers to be added to an integrated circuit product in an intermediate form (Article 24).

– For an integrated circuit to be registrable, it must be original (Article 24).

– Integrated circuits are protected for up to ten years. The term of protection commences on either the year of the first commercial exploitation or the year of the filing date, whichever is earlier (Article 25).

4. Trade Secrets

– Information could be considered a trade secret if (a) it is not commonly known, easily accessible, or used by individuals that usually deal with such information, (b) its confidentiality has commercial value, and (c) it has been identified by the party in control of the information as a secret (Article 29).

– As long as the owner of the trade secret can prove that reasonable efforts have been made to keep the information confidential, the information remains a trade secret and remains legally protected (Article 30).

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