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FAQ - Gulf Cooperation Council

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For more specific legal questions relating to the GCC patent system, please contact International_legal_affairs@epo.org.


Questions

General information about IP in the GCC

From filing to grant

After grant

Sources of information

Answers

General information about IP in the GCC


What is the GCC and what patent protection is available there?

The Gulf Cooperation Council is a regional organisation comprising currently six Arab countries: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Sultanate of Oman and Bahrain. The GCC Patent Office offers a unified patent granting system which provides patent protection in all six member states.

More information can be found on the GCC Patent Office's website

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


What types of industrial property rights are granted by the GCC Patent Office?

At the moment, the GCC Patent Office grants patents only.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


How long is the term of protection of GCC patents?

The term of protection for GCC patents is 20 years from the date of filing.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


What are the requirements for patentability at the GCC Patent Office?

Article 2 of the Patent Regulation of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf reads as follows:

"2/1 An invention shall be patentable according to the provisions of this Regulation and its Bylaws if it is new, involves an inventive step, industrially applicable and is not contrary to the laws of Islamic Shariya, or public order or to morality observed in the Cooperation Council States, whether that was pertaining to new products, industrial processes, or to manufacturing methods.”

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


What inventions cannot be patented in the GCC?

Article 3 of the Patent Regulation of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf reads as follows:

“3/1 for the purpose of this Regulation, the following shall not be regarded as inventions:

3/1/1 Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, and computer programs.

3/1/2 Schemes, rules, and methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts, or playing games.

3/1/3 Plant varieties and species of animals, and biological processes for the production of plants or animals with the exception of microbiological processes and the products thereof.

3/1/4 Methods of surgical or therapeutic treatment of the human or animal body and methods of diagnosis applied to the human or animal body with the exception of products used in any of these methods.

3/2 This Regulation shall not protect varieties of plants or species of animals.”

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Is the GCC a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)?

No. It is not yet possible to designate the GCC in PCT international applications or to apply for the grant of a GCC patent in a PCT international application. However, most of the GCC member states are members of PCT.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


From filing to grant


As a foreign applicant, do I need to appoint a professional representative in the GCC?

All non-residents wishing to apply for a GCC patent must appoint a registered agent who is a GCC resident to represent them before the GCC Office.

More information: See GCC Patent Regulation

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


What language or languages can I use for patent applications in the GCC?

Documents submitted must be translated into Arabic if drafted in English, or must be translated into both Arabic and English if originally drafted in any other language. (Article 3/5 of the Implementing Bylaws of the Amended Patent Regulation of GCC (April 2000))

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Can I claim priority for an application filed in the GCC?

All GCC countries are members of the Paris Convention. While the GCC Patent Office itself is currently not a member of the Convention, it respects the Convention’s rules.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Can I get an early filing date from the GCC Patent Office by filing a provisional application?

It is not possible at present to file a provisional application in order to get an early filing date from the GCC Patent Office.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Does the GCC Patent Office allow divisional applications?

Yes, it does.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Can I withdraw my application before it is published in the Official Gazette of the GCC Patent Office?

Yes, you can withdraw an application at any time before it is published.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Can I request that an application I have filed with the GCC Patent Office be published earlier than 18 months from the filing (or earliest priority) date?

No, it is not possible to request early publication of an application.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Can I submit third-party observations on GCC patent applications?

No, it is not possible to submit third-party observations on GCC applications. However, it is possible to file a pre-grant opposition.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


What is the time limit for responding to official actions from the GCC Patent Office?

Responses to official actions should be submitted within 90 days from the date of the action. Extensions are not possible.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


After grant


When do I have to pay annual fees in the GCC?

Annual fees are due at the beginning of each year, starting from the year following the filing date. (Article 16 of the Patent Regulation of the Cooperation Council for Arab States of the Gulf)

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Is there a grace period for paying annual fees in the GCC?

Applicants or patent holders have a grace period of three months from the due date but are liable to pay an additional fee.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


What happens if I fail to pay an annual renewal fee to the GCC Patent Office in the three months following the expiry of the three-month period following the due date?

If you fail to pay within this period (three months from the due date), your patent will cease to be valid and this will be recorded in the Register and published in the Gazette.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Can a lapsed patent be restored by the GCC Patent Office?

No, it is not possible to restore a lapsed patent.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Is it possible to extend the term of a GCC patent?

No, the 20-year term for patents cannot be extended. The GCC Patent Law does not include any provisions on patent term extensions or supplementary protection certificates (SPCs).

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


How can I challenge a patent in the GCC?

Within three months from the publication of the decision to grant, any interested party may file an opposition against the grant of the patent with the Committee of Grievances. This is known as pre-grant opposition and can be found in the granted patents section of the Gazette.

An appeal against a final decision of the GCC Patent Office may be lodged with the Committee of Grievances within three months from the date the decision was known to be delivered or from the date of its publication, where applicable.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Sources of information


Where can I search GCC patent information in English?

The GCC Patent Office has an English-language database. On this platform, you can perform searches according to the patent number, title, international classification, scope or specific scope.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Where can I find English abstracts of GCC patent documents?

In the GCC Patent Gazette, you can find the bibliographic data and the abstracts of patent applications for which the decision to grant/refuse has been taken.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Where can I get an English machine translation of a GCC patent?

There are no machine translations of GCC patents available yet, as the patent documents are not published in machine readable format.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Where can I find legal status information on GCC patents in English?

Detailed legal status information for patents filed at the GCC Patent Office is not available yet, but a brief “application status” is published together with the bibliographic information in the Patent Gazette database once the examination phase has been completed.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


Where can I find official information about fees?

Official information about fees is available on the GCC website.

If you require a more detailed answer, please send us your question using the contact form.


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