FAQ - Saudi Arabia (SA)

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Questions

General information about IP in Saudi Arabia

From filing to grant

After grant

Sources of information

Answers

General information about IP in Saudi Arabia


How to protect an invention in Saudi Arabia

There are two options for protecting an invention on Saudi Arabian territory:

  1. The first option is to file a patent application with the Saudi Arabian Patent Office. If a patent is granted, the invention will be protected only in Saudi Arabia.
  2. The second option is to file a patent application with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office. The GCC is a regional organisation comprising six Arab countries: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman, and Bahrain. The GCC Patent Office is a regional office that registers patents in the member states of the GCC. Patents granted by the GCC Patent Office are valid in all GCC member states.

GCC Patent Office website

All the information presented below relates to the first option, protection via the Saudi Arabian Patent Office.

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What types of industrial property rights exist in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia has patents, plant varieties, industrial designs, layout designs of integrated circuits and trade marks, but not utility models. Patents and designs can be registered at the Saudi Arabian Patent Office (official name: General Directorate of Patents at King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST)). Trade marks can be registered at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

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How long are the terms of protection of Saudi Arabian intellectual property rights?

The terms of protection for the different types of intellectual property are as follows:

  • patents: 20 years from the date of filing
  • plant varieties: 20 years
  • industrial designs: 10 years
  • layout designs of integrated circuits: 10 years

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When may a patent not be granted?

Article 4 of the Saudi Arabian Patent Law states the following:

"(a) The protection document shall not be granted if its commercial exploitation violates the Shari'ah (Islamic law).

(b) The protection document shall not be granted if its commercial exploitation is harmful to life, to human, animal or plant health, or is substantially harmful to the environment."

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What inventions cannot be patented in Saudi Arabia?

Article 45 of the Saudi Arabian Patent Law states the following:

"In the application of provisions of this Law, the following shall not be regarded as inventions:

(a) Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods.

(b) Schemes, rules and methods of conducting commercial activities, exercising pure mental activities or playing a game.

(c) Plants, animals and processes - which are mostly biological - used for the production of plants or animals, with the exception of micro-organisms, non-biological and microbiology processes.

(d) Methods of surgical or therapeutic treatment of human or animal body and methods of diagnosis applied to human or animal bodies, with the exception of products used in any of these methods."

The exclusion also applies to computer programs and any other copyright work.

Laws & Regulations

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Can computer software be patented in Saudi Arabia?

Computer programs as such are not patentable, but may be protected by copyright. Computer-related inventions may be patentable in Saudi Arabia if the requirements for patentability are met.

Laws & Regulations

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

As of 3 August 2013, Saudi Arabia will be bound by the PCT. From that date onwards, nationals and residents of Saudi Arabia will be entitled to file international applications under the PCT.

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From filing to grant


As a foreign applicant, do I need to appoint a professional representative in Saudi Arabia?

All non-residents wishing to apply for a patent require an authorised Saudi Arabian representative. Applicants have to file a power of attorney which has been duly notarised and legalised by the consulate of Saudi Arabia.

More information:

Professional representative

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


What language must I use for a patent application in Saudi Arabia?

Documents submitted under the Saudi Arabian Law of Patents must be in Arabic.

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Can I claim priority for an application filed in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, the priority term is 12 months from the earliest claimed priority, as stipulated in the Paris Convention. Saudi Arabia has been a member of the Paris Convention since 2004.

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What do I need to do to get an early filing date in Saudi Arabia?

It is not possible at present to file a provisional application in order to get an early filing date in Saudi Arabia.

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Does Saudi Arabia allow divisional applications?

Yes. Where an application contains two or more inventions, applicants may submit a divisional application on their own initiative any time before the decision to grant or reject the application.

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Do I have to file a request for examination ("deferred examination") in Saudi Arabia?

You do not need to file a request for examination. Applications are examined automatically, on the basis of the filing date. It is possible to withdraw applications.

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Can I withdraw my application before it is published in Saudi Arabia?

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

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Can I request that my application in Saudi Arabia 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.

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Can I submit third-party observations on a Saudi Arabian patent application?

No, it is not possible to submit third-party observations.

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What is the time limit for responding to official actions in Saudi Arabia?

Responses to official actions should be submitted within 90 days from the date of the action.

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After grant


When do I have to pay annual fees in Saudi Arabia?

Annual fees are due at the beginning of each year (1 January until 30 March), starting from the year following the filing date.

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Is there a grace period for paying annual fees in Saudi Arabia?

Applicants or patent holders who fail to pay within a maximum period of three months from the due date are liable to pay double the amount of the fee. If they fail to pay after being warned during the three months following the expiration of the first three months, the patent will cease to be valid and this will be recorded in the Register and published in the Gazette.

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Can a lapsed patent be restored in Saudi Arabia?

In case of force majeure it is possible to have a lapsed patent restored at the Saudi Arabian Patent Office.

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Can I request an extension of the patent term in Saudi Arabia?

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

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How can I challenge a granted patent in Saudi Arabia?

Within 90 days from publication of the decision to grant, any interested party may apply for partial or total revocation of the patent.

Invalidation is possible for a third party at any time after grant and must be raised before a separate governmental body (Appeals Committee).

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Sources of information


Where can I search Saudi Arabian patent information in English?

The Saudi Arabian Patent Office has an English-language database known as "IP search". On this platform you can perform searches according to dates, numbers or applicant/inventor names.

IP Search

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Where can I find English abstracts of Saudi Arabian patent documents?

In general, the Saudi Arabian Patent Office does not produce any English abstracts for its patent documents. Where a non-Saudi Arabian applicant files an application, the abstract may also be in English (and in Arabic), while the rest of the patent has to be in Arabic only. Therefore, English abstracts are also available in certain circumstances.

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

There are no machine translations of Saudi Arabian patents available yet.

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Where can I find legal-status information on Saudi Arabian patents in English?

In general, legal-status information for Saudi Arabian patents is not yet available, but a brief "application status" can be found together with the bibliographic information in the "IP search" database.

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Where can I find official information about fees in Saudi Arabia?

Information about fees is currently available in Arabic only.

Schedule of fees

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Where can I find information about patent agents in Saudi Arabia?

The KACST website gives detailed information about the role of patent attorneys and the services they provide. It is available in Arabic only.

Professional representative

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