On 5 January 2021, the Supreme Council of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf publicly announced its decision to stop accepting the filing of new patent applications (read the statement here).
In 1998, the office opened its doors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and during its more than 20 years in operation it granted 11,502 patents, the protection of which extends to Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Patent Office of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf is expected to process the pending applications, carry out examinations and, where applicable, grant the corresponding patents even though the organisation still has not officially said anything about this. What we do know, however, is that it will continue to accept the annual payments for pending and granted patent applications. Therefore, the rights of holders will continue to have the same legal protection.
Patent protection in the Gulf countries
From now on, holders who wish to apply for a patent in any of these states may:
- File a patent application under the Paris Convention in each of these states within 12 months after filing the priority application.
- File a PCT application and subsequently, when it is already in the national phase, apply for the patent in each of the aforementioned states. This approach allows the applicant to select the states within 30 months after filing the priority application, in other words, 18 additional months when compared to filing under the Paris Convention.
After the announcement of the Cooperation Council of the Gulf, the number of regional patent organisations was reduced to four:
- the European Patent Office (EPO),
- the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO),
- the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI),
- the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO)