Thursday, 2 February 2017

Libya - (no) progress on publication of trade mark applications

News from good friends SMAS that there have been no publications of trade mark applications since the last publication "Publication no.3" on 4 June 2015 with application numbers 20195 to 20465, reported back in June 2016 here.

UAE - seizure of counterfeit car parts in Abu Dhabi in January 2017

A report in Gulf News (here) of a seizure of a large amount of counterfeit car parts in Abu Dhabi in January 2017. The report reads:

"Abu Dhabi: Around 21 truckloads of fake auto spare parts confiscated on a single day by Abu Dhabi officials will be destroyed after completing legal procedures, officials said on Tuesday.

In the largest seizure of fake spare parts in the emirate, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) confiscated more than 500,000 pieces worth Dh15 million on Thursday, officials said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The officials raided a large auto spare parts shop and warehouse owned by an individual in Al Ain on Thursday morning and it took around 20 hours to count the number of seized products, a senior official told Gulf News.

“It was a Herculean task to transport them to ADDED’s warehouse in 21 trucks. They will be destroyed after completing the legal procedures,” said Ahmad Tarish Al Qubaisi, director of Commercial Protection Division at ADDED.

The seizure of fake spare parts of several major global vehicle brands has averted potential threat to the safety of motorists and other road users in the UAE, he said.

Fake spare parts like brake pads can cause fatal road accidents, he said. Many other fake parts like filters may cause fire and explosion in vehicles, said the representatives of automobile companies who were present at the press conference.

The officials did not reveal the identity of the accused dealer whose shop in Al Ain was closed down after the seizure of fake products. A fine and other penalties will be imposed on him after completing the investigations. “We are investigating whether he was doing retail sales or wholesale deals. Wholesale deals will attract heavier penalties,” Al Qubaisi said.

The goods were imported from a foreign country. The officials did not reveal the brand names of the fake products. “We don’t want to cause panic among customers,” they said.

Hatem Abdul Ghani, a legal consultant of automobile dealers in the UAE, told Gulf News that the seized goods were the imitations of almost 15 global brands of vehicles. “Around 50 per cent of them were of a single popular brand.”

The dealer was offering the fake goods at one-third of the price of the original products, he said.

Ali Majid Al Mansouri, ADDED chairman, said the department would continue to check commercial fraud and intensify inspection and field visits in coordination with other stakeholders. These commercial crimes negatively affect the economy of Abu Dhabi and the UAE economy in general, he said.

Khalifa Bin Salem Al Mansouri, ADDED acting undersecretary, said the department’s inspectors have wide legal powers and they regularly visit malls and consumer markets to look for any violations.

Mohammad Munif Al Mansouri, acting executive director of the ADDED’s Abu Dhabi Business Centre (ADBC), highlighted the cooperation of trademark owners of spare parts in the seizure of goods from one of the biggest warehouses in Al Ain city.


21 truckloads of goods confiscated
500,000 pieces of fake spare parts
Dh15 million is the value of fake spare parts

Report fake products

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has urged consumers to report fake products to the department by calling the toll-free number 800555.“We advise consumers to always look for original auto spare parts and never compromise your safety by buying cheaper fake products,” the ADDED officials said. They said buying the product from authorised dealers is the only way to ensure its genuineness. It is difficult for a consumer to distinguish between original and fake products. Even authorised dealers often find it hard to do so because counterfeiters have become smarter these days, they said."

GCC Patent Office - summary of practice

Good friends Saba have published a useful summary of the GCC Patent Office in their January 2017 newsletter (available here). They say:

"With increasing official or government fees across the board relating to Intellectual Property procurement, regional offices can provide a more cost effective alternative when available. Patent attorneys and law firms worldwide are aware of the European Patent Office (EPO) and in most cases of the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO). Possibly due to the lag in emergence and development of certain regions, other regional patent offices are less known and utilized, namely, the GCC Patent Office (GCCPO). In this report, we will discuss the GCCPO in more details.

History and Statistics

The GCCPO, as its name indicates, is the regional office for patent protection in the six GCC member countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The GCCPO is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and is independent from the Saudi Patent Office, which is also based in the same city.

The GCC Patent Law was introduced in 1992. The first GCC patent application was filed in 1998 and the law was amended in 1999. The related implementing regulations were issued in 2000.

According to the statistics available on the GCCPO website, and as of the end of 2015, approximately 30,000 patent applications have been filed since 1998. Of these, approximately 16,000 applications have been examined and completed and approximately 14,000 are pending, i.e. under formal examination, under substantive examination or other.

As of the end of 2015, 3,992 patents have been granted and issued in various fields. This means that roughly 12,000 applications have been rejected, cancelled or abandoned for various reasons.

Filing a GCC Patent Application


The GCCPO accepts applications from all over the world. Most foreign applications claim a 12 month priority, similar to a Paris Convention filing, albeit the GCCPO is not a member of the Paris Convention as stated in the table in the introduction.

According to the statistics published by the GCCPO, the top 5 filers between the years 2011 and 2015 are, in decreasing order: USA, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany.

The GCCPO is an electronic filing office. All requests, notifications and documents are managed electronically via the GCCPO portal. The following documents, in addition to the disclosure (i.e. title, abstract, description, claims and figures) are required: a legalized POA; a legalized DOA; and a certified copy of he claimed priorities.

Legalization of the above listed documents may be made up to the Consulate of any of the 6 member states. All the supporting documents may be submitted within 90 days from the filing date. These documents are submitted electronically, as color scans, while the original paper documents have to be maintained in a safe place in case the need arises to re-scan for quality reasons or for actual submission if requested by the patent office.

In addition to these supporting documents, a complete Arabic translation of the disclosure is required, and required to be submitted at the time of filing. The translation has to be provided according to the formatting and requirements of the regulations, i.e. paper size, margin size, etc.

In case the formal requirements are not all met in a timely fashion, the application will be cancelled and a notification to the same will be issued, roughly within a year or so. There is no provision in the regulations for requesting an extension of time at any stage during the prosecution of a GCC patent application.

If all the requirements are met, the application then moves into substantive examination.

Substantive Examination

Substantive examination has to be requested and the related fees settled within 90 days from issuance of the notification to do so by the patent office. This notification is usually issued after 2 years from filing, depending on the backlog. The GCCPO has been accelerating examination lately.

While the GCCPO examines many of the applications, a number of the application is examined by the Chinese Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and to a lesser extent, the Austrian Patent Office.

Once started, examination is relatively rapid and depending on the reply to the office actions, a decision may be issued within months from the date of last response.

A favorable decision will result in the grant and publication of the application, which then becomes open to opposition for a period of 90 days. If no opposition is filed, then the patent is issued and may be enforced in all 6 GCC countries without the need for validation.

Patent Maintenance

As is the case in practically all patent systems in the world, the patent term for a GCC patent is 20 years, calculated from the filing year. This part sometimes gets confusing as the calculations are not based on the filing date or priority date as one would expect.

Annuities are due in the first quarter of each year following the filing year. In other words, annuities should be settled between January 1 and March 31 of each year, with a grace period until June 30 with a penalty fee. As an example, for an application filed on any day in 2016, the 1st annuity is due between January 1 and march 31 of 2017. Subsequent annuities are due similarly.

An interesting provision with regards to annuities for GCC patent applications is that after the 4th year, and in case the patent has not granted yet, the patentee is exempt from paying the annuities. Upon grant, the back-annuities will then have to be settled in order to proceed with the issuance.

Enforcement

A GCC patent can be asserted and enforced in all 6 GCC countries. In case of a suspected infringement or actual infringement in any one of the 6 countries, legal action may be taken and the GCC patent used to support the plaintiff’s case.

The competent court for taking such an action will be the competent judicial authority in the country where the infringement is taking place. There isn’t a unified court for the GCC patent system, at least not yet.

Currently, there are no specialized courts in the GCC countries. IP litigations are handled in the courts of first instances or civil courts whichever is applicable, with the exception of Saudi Arabia. The courts have appointed sworn experts who will provide an opinion during patent litigation cases.

In Saudi Arabia, the competent authority is the Committee which is composed of three law specialists and two technical experts. Decisions of the Committee shall be issued by majority vote. An appeal against any decision issued by the Committee may be brought before the Board of Grievances.

In closing

Needless to state, and in the interest of not losing the readers, many details relating to the sections above have been omitted. Nevertheless, the main points and ideas have been introduced and presented.

Simply by looking at various statistics related to the region, there is no doubt of the growth this particular area of the Middle East has experienced over the past decade and is expected to maintain a sturdy growth for the coming years. Investments for the development of various industries as well as in innovation can be seen in the two largest economies of the GCC, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE; but also in Qatar and Oman and to a lesser extent in Bahrain and Kuwait.

The region has drawn the attention of all major global players as attested by the diversified patents and patentees and from where we stand, we have witnessed a continuous growth that is not abetting yet. The region is putting its mark in the international community and is well on its way to becoming a major player in the global economy. Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Iran - new trade mark filing requirements

Good friends Saba report details of a change in practice in Iranin their January 2017 newsletter (available here). They say:

"Iran recently announced that a legalized extract from the commercial register is required for new trademark applications and oppositions and must be submitted within 60 days from filing date—a simply signed copy is required at the time of filing, however. As for renewal applications, a notarized extract from the commercial register is sufficient.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Jordan - summary of Customs recordals

Good friends Saba have published a useful summary of Customs recordals in Jordan in their January 2017 newsletter (available here). They say:

"Border measures are a key tool in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy and a critical element of a successful intellectual property enforcement system. In the scope of the continuous efforts to create competent border enforcement measures and to provide effective protection, recordals in Jordan are available at two different authorities, the General Customs Department and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA). Both work separately, however. ASEZA is only concerned with the shipments that are cleared into the free zone only.

One fundamental premise of the recordation system (other than providing a central registry containing information for recorded trademarks) is that it allows Customs officials to adopt an ex-officio border system. An ex-officio system is different from the standard border system in which a judicial authority orders Customs to detain the infringing shipment after identifying the infringing goods. The key advantage of the ex-officio system is that it allows for prompt and proactive action by Customs officials thus avoiding the delays inherently involved in seeking judicial action. Customs officials are always on the lookout for infringing goods and are thus able to act quickly to confiscate counterfeit and pirated merchandise.

Pursuant to this recordation system, the owner of a trademark registration can apply to the above-mentioned entities requesting recordation. The application should include certain information as required by the applicable policies and must be accompanied by the certificate of registration of the mark and a power of attorney. The Customs will then issue a recordation notice.

The below table lists the required documents for recordal with the General Customs Department and ASEZA:

Recordal with General Customs Department
Recordal with Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA)
• Power of attorney, legalized up to the Jordanian consulate
• Copy of the registration certificate of the trademark to be recorded
• A petition duly executed on behalf of the rights holder
• Brochures or images showing how the genuine trademark is being used
• Power of attorney, legalized up to the Jordanian Consulate
• Copy of the registration certificate of the trademark to be recorded
• Application form
• Brochures or images showing how the genuine trademark is being used
Recordal is valid for the trademark’s protection term, renewable for like periods
Recordal is valid for one year, renewable for like periods

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

WIPO - PCT Guides - Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria

News from WIPO that these PCT Guides have been updated:

Bahrain - General Information – Annex B (here) - December 2016
Bahrain - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - December 2016
Egypt - International Searching Authorities – Annex D (here) - January 2017
Egypt - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - November 2016
Iran - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - April 2016
Oman - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - November 2016
Qatar -General Information – Annex B (here) - November 2016
Qatar - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - November 2016
Saudi Arabia - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - November 2016
Syria - Receiving Offices – Annex C (here) - November 2016


Jordan - accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty

News from good friends AGIP (by email back in December 2016) that Jordan is to join the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Their announcement reads:

"The Jordanian Council of Ministers, headed by Prime Minister Mr. Hani Al-Mulki approved the accession of Jordan to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The Treaty provides procedural facilitations with a 90 percent discount on the submission fees offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to Jordan.

The accession of Jordan to the PCT would benefit both local and foreign applicants, which would contribute to the increase of patent applications submitted to the Directorate of Industrial Property Protection, affiliate of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

The Council instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to deposit the accession documents with the Secretary General of WIPO and authorized the permanent representative of the Kingdom in Geneva to sign the treaty."

Followed this month by news from good friends Saba in their January 2017 newsletter (article here) which reads:

"Pursuant to amending the Patents Law in 2016, the Jordanian Council of Ministers approved the accession of Jordan to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Accordingly, the instrument of accession is being prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Supply and will be signed on behalf of the government of Jordan and submitted at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

During the transitional period into becoming a member of the PCT, the Ministry concerned will raise awareness to familiarize all stakeholders with the Treaty. We expect further developments and news in this area that should clarify the direct benefits of Jordan’s upcoming accession to the PCT.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Saudi Arabia - closed for National Day on Thursday 22 September 2016

All government offices including the Patent Office, the Trade Mark Office, the Courts, Ministries and the GCC Patent Office will be closed on Thursday 22 September 2016 for the National Day holiday. Any deadline falling on Thursday will be deferred to Sunday 25 September 2016.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

GCC Trade Mark Law - resources - updated 2 October 2016

Here is a list of articles published on the GCC Trade Mark Law.

September 2016 - Clyde & Co - Saudi Trade Mark Office adopts GCC Trade Mark Law - Legal and practical implications

September 2016 - Rouse - Saudi Arabia increases their official fees for trade marks
September 2016 - Gowlings - Fee levels: why brand owners need to react fast in the Middle East and North Africa
September 2016 - AGIP - GCC TM Law and its Implementing Regulations Come into Force in KSA
September 2016 - Saba & Co - Saudi Arabia: Increase in Official Fees and Substantial Procedural Changes in Trademark Oppositions
September 2016 - Kadasa - The GCC Trademark Law is published in Saudi Arabia
August 2016 - Clyde & Co - GCC Trade Mark Law - Are increased official fees inevitable?
August 2016 - Al Tamimi - The importance of opposing trademark applications in Bahrain

July 2016 - Rouse & Co - Saudi Arabia - GCC Trade Mark Law and Implementing Regulations
July 2016 - Clyde & Co - Saudi Arabia edges closer to implementing the GCC Trade Mark Law
February 2016 - Clyde & Co - The start of a new era - GCC Trade Mark Law implemented in Kuwait

January 2016 - Saba & Co - GCC: Laying down the Trademark Law
January 2016 - AGIP - Increase in Trademarks Official Fees in Kuwait

January 2016 - Al Tamimi - GCC Unified Trademark Law: Keyprovisions and challenges
December 2015 - AGIP - GCC Trade Mark Law & Implementing Regulations
December 2015 - Kadasa & Partners
October 2015 - Clyde & Co - The GCC Trade Mark Law: moving closer, in different ways
September 2015 - AGIP - GCC Trademark Law & Implementing Regulations

February 2015 - Clyde & Co - Licensing provisions in the draft GCC Trade Mark Law
November 2014 - Clyde & Co - A Unified GCC Trade Mark Law
March 2014 - AGIP - Bahrain Approves GCC Trademarks Law

If there are other articles not referred to please email this part of the Empty Quarter who will gladly update the list.

Monday, 19 September 2016

UAE - administrative enforcement in Ras Al Khaimah

News from Khaleej Times (here) of enforcement by the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Department in September 2016. The news is that the Economic Department in Ras Al Khaimah are taking action against counterfeit products being sold in a shopping centre, rather than the quantity of goods seized.

WIPO - PCT Guides - Kuwait

News from WIPO that these parts of the PCT Guide for Kuwait have been updated:

General Information – Annex B (here)
National Phase – National Chapters (here)

WIPO - PCT Guides - Qatar

News from WIPO that these parts of the PCT Guide for Qatar have been updated:

General Information – Annex B (here)
National Phase - National Chapters (here)

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Syria - reduction in Madrid individual fee

News from WIPO (here) that from 1 August 2016 the individual fee payable for International Registrations designating the Syrian Arab Republic will be CHF39. This is a reduction from the current individual fee of CHF66. That the change is a reduction is interesting to note following the recent increases in local filing fees (here).  

Thursday, 30 June 2016

UAE - the pirate registration of a well known mark can be cancelled even after five years of use by the owner of the registration

News on the World Trademark Review website today of an article by Al Tamimi in which they report a case in which the Courts of First Instance, Appeal and Cassation all confirmed that the pirate registration of an internationally well known mark may be cancelled even after local use of the mark continuously for at least five years.

The Article is available here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Oman - PCT e-filing and workshop

A belated report of news from April on the Muscat Daily website of developments in Oman.

The first report (here) states:

"The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has launched an online system for filing patents.

“ePCT or the electronic Patent Cooperation Treaty is a new service that will make the process of filing patents easier. The service was launched on Monday,” said Fatma Abdullah al Ghazali, consultant for external affairs to the Minister of Commerce and Industry.

PCT assists applicants in seeking protection internationally for inventions, helps offices with their patent granting decisions and facilitates public access to technical information relating to those inventions. By filing one single application under PCT, applicants can seek protection for an invention in 148 countries, according to World Intellectual Property

Organization (WIPO). “We are a member of PCT since 2001 but have always depended on the International Bureau of WIPO to submit all applications. From now onwards, we will receive all patent applications with the technical support of WIPO,” she said.
Fatma said that earlier the person or firm had to visit the country he was seeking protection in to file a patent. “It is not possible for all Omanis to go abroad to file patents as it’s an expensive affair. They even had to hire international agents to submit their applications. Now, they can visit our office or submit the patent application on our website.”"

The second report (here) states:

"A two-day workshop on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) began under the patronage of H E Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed bin Nassir al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education and in the presence of H H Sayyid Dr Fahad bin al Julanda al Said, assistant secretary general for innovation and development of The Research Council (TRC), H E Dr Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, on Tuesday.

Organised by TRC in cooperation with other organisations, it is discussing a number of issues including the topic, ‘Patents in the Sultanate of Oman: Current Status, Performance and Statistics’. The workshop coincides with the World Intellectual Property Day that is marked on April 26 every year. Participants are being introduced to basics, contracting states, statistics and main advantages of PCT."

Free anti-counterfeiting guides - Lebanon and the UAE from WTR

World Trade Mark Trademark Review have made available on their website the 2016 edition of "Anti-counterfeiting – A Global Guide" (here). The guide includes chapters on Lebanon (here from Walid Nasser) and the United Arab Emirates (here from Malek Khalifeh).  Useful. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Eid Al Fitr 2016

In the UAE, Ramadan is expected to end on the evening of 5 July and the Eid Al Fitr holiday to begin on Wednesday 6 July. So far we know of these holidays:

UAE - government closed from Sunday 3 July to Thursday 7 July, reopening Sunday 10 July
Pakistan - government closed from Wednesday 6 July to Friday 8 July, reopening Monday 11 July
Saudi Arabia - government closed from Friday 1 July to Saturday 9 July, reopening Sunday 10 July

Turkey - government closed from Monday 4 July to Friday 8 July, reopening Monday 11 July

Sunday, 26 June 2016

WIPO - PCT Guides - Syria

News from WIPO two weeks ago that this part of the PCT Guide for Syria has been updated:

Receiving Offices - Annex C (here)

UAE - enforcement in Abu Dhabi so far in 2016 (part 2)

Further to the earlier report (here) of enforcement in Abu Dhabi in 2016, further news from Khaleej Times (here). Of particular interested to this part of the Empty Quarter during this Holy month is that the ADDED has "contributed to the UAE Red Crescent's charity project 'Preserving the Blessing' by donating 10,173 pieces of clothes and shoes, 102 grams of gold and Dh129,960 earned from recycling some of the seized goods."


The full article says:"Abu Dhabi will impose heavy fines on businesses that are involved in commercial fraud by selling fake products. In more serious cases, it could even result in the closure of such business.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added) will introduce a number of measures and penalties based on law No (2) of 2009 on the establishment of Added and Resolution No 25 on the regulation of economic activities and licence issuance.

"These authorise the Added to impose penalties that can even reach the closure of any establishment that is involved in commercial fraud," said Mohammed Munif Al Mansouri, acting executive director of Abu Dhabi Business Centre.

He was commenting on the joint raids carried out by the Added in cooperation with the municipalities of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region, Abu Dhabi Police, the Food Control Authority, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council and the Waste Management Centre.

The Added destroyed 165,000 counterfeit and fake items seized during raids in recent months. The destroyed goods included clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and haircare products, electronics, telephone and mobile phones, tobacco, food products, auto parts accessories, intellectual property works, sanitary items, building materials, medicines, games and gifts.

The Added has contributed to the UAE Red Crescent's charity project 'Preserving the Blessing' by donating 10,173 pieces of clothes and shoes, 102 grams of gold and Dh129,960 earned from recycling some of the seized goods.

Al Mansouri said his department is committed to continue its efforts to combat trading in counterfeit and fraudulent goods and to confiscate them across the emirate of Abu Dhabi through raids.

Al Mansouri commended the efforts of government stakeholders who took part in these raids along with Added inspectors in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.

The raids have revealed several malpractices and techniques followed by storekeepers.

He said these raids come as part of an annual plan carried out this year by the Added to combat commercial fraud in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. He stressed the commitment of the Added to protect commercial activities across all sectors, especially those that are directly involved with consumers.

He called on consumers and trademark owners in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to contact the Added on the toll-free number (800555) to report any outlets or persons carrying out commercial fraud."


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Kuwait - accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty

Further to earlier news here and here, news from WIPO (here) that on 9 June 2016 Kuwait deposited its instrument of accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The Treaty will enter in to force in Kuwait on 9 September 2016.

The full announcement reads: 

PCT Notification No. 208
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Accession by the State of Kuwait

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) presents his compliments to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and has the honor to notify the deposit by the Government of the State of Kuwait, on June 9, 2016, of its instrument of accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), done at Washington on June 19, 1970, amended on September 28, 1979, modified on February 3, 1984, and on October 3, 2001.

The said Treaty will enter into force, with respect to the State of Kuwait, on September 9, 2016.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

UAE - UAEU licences patents to US pharma business

News in Gulf News (here) of the licensing of four patents to US pharma business, BioLegend.

The report reads: "UAE University (UAEU) has signed a licensing agreement with global US-based pharmaceutical company BioLegend, which will see four of the university’s developed patents being used to help detect Parkinson’s disease, an official from the university told Gulf News.

The development is a big step in line with UAE’s vision of a knowledge-based economy, and also sends a positive message on the contributions that can be made from the Arab world in the fields of science and medicine.

“Researchers from our College of Medicine have been working for 10 years on developing a new method to diagnose Parkinson’s disease using antibodies that were produced in our laboratories. After successful research results, we filed a patent for our findings, with a lot of companies around the world showing interest in our studies,” said Mohammad Al Hemairy, head of Patents and Technology Transfer at UAEU.

“BioLegend is a multinational pharmaceutical company that is working to manufacture therapeutic and diagnostic tools for neurology diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzhemiers among others. We entered discussions and negotiations with them for over a year until we reached terms that we both agreed on.

“The agreement grants BioLegend access to our intellectual property and patents for the next 10 years — allowing them to utilise our research findings to develop a commercial product for the market,” Al Hemairy added.

Commenting on the specifics of the research findings and the antibodies they produced, Al Hemairy said: “In simple terms, these antibodies have features that able them to carry messages to the nerve cells in the brain, after which they will form a cluster. This cluster can then be detected by a CT scan, which will allow doctors to identify the affected cells that are being damaged by Parkinson’s.”

Al Hemairy spoke positively on the magnitude of the patent agreements with BioLegend, and said it sets a new precedent for the university and the UAE.

“This is something very unique and novel — here we have a major company like BioLegend, who are based in the US and are worth billions of dollars, coming and seeking knowledge from the UAE,” he said.

“We have produced a technology that we are exporting to the outside world. We are contributing towards resolving and finding a diagnosis that is very much needed, and so there is a humanitarian dimension and benefit to what we are doing,” he added.

Speaking on the time frame for the planned commercialisation of the patents by BioLegend, Al Hemairy said that it would take roughly 18 months.

“Before BioLegend can send it to the manufacturing stage, there needs to be some tests for proof of concept — this is to basically prove that the findings do work and are safe to be used. After this is done, they will get the approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to manufacture the medication and drug,” said Al Hemairy.""

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Libya - (slow) progress on publication of trade mark applications and issues with registration certificates

News from good friends SMAS that publication of trade mark applications is progressing slowly. They report that the last publication was "Publication no.3" on 4 June 2015 with application numbers 20195 to 20465.

In other news this part of the Empty Quarter has received registration certificates recently issued from Libya where the goods applied for have been changed to the class heading by the Trade Mark Office. According to advice from local agents the Trade Mark Office is changing the specification on all new registrations certificates in this way. Some agents are simply accepting the change and others are pushing back to try have the specification changed back to that which was applied for. The class heading used is from the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification.

Yemen - class headings no longer accepted

News from good friends SMAS by email that class headings are no loner accepted in trade mark applications. The notice from SMAS reads:

"Class heading in trademark applications will no longer acceptable in Yemen

The General Department for Intellectual Property in Yemen has issued a public notice on May 4, 2016 that the use of class heading in trademark applications will be no longer acceptable and the applicant should specify the goods/services for registration in details.

The said decision came in force in Yemen as from 6 June 2016.

Should you have any queries in relation to this matter or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at yemen@smas-ip.com"

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Saudi Arabia's National Transformation Plan includes SAR5 million to set up an Intellectual Property Authority

News from Arabian Business today that the National Transformation Plan of Saudi Arabia, part of the wider Vision 2030 change program, includes SAR5 million (about US$1.3 million) to set up an Intellectual Property Authority.

The article (here) says:

".....Other spending included 2.1 billion riyals to restructure the postal sector, 5 million to set up an intellectual property authority, 8 million to improve civil service performance and 3.5 billion to maintain cultural heritage....."

UAE - Dubai Customs detains 54 shipments in first 3 months of 2016

This is a belated report of news from Emirates 24/7 (here) that in April 2016 Dubai Customs reported that they had detained 54 shipments of counterfeit goods in the first quarter of 2016. The report reads:

"Dubai has intensified its campaign against intellectual property right (IPR) infringements during the first quarter of this year.

According to Dubai Customs’ figures released today, 135 seizures of IPR infringing goods worth Dh16.8 million were made last year while in the first quarter of this year, 54 seizures were made at a value of Dh34.5 million.

Abdullah Al Khaja, Executive Director of Customer Management Division at Dubai Customs, said: “You can only imagine the health and economic impacts if these goods went into our markets… The protection of intellectual property rights is gaining a lot of momentum in the UAE, to keep pace with the progress in creative industries.”

Speaking on the occasion of World IP Day 2016, Khaja said: “A report estimated that the growing impact of digital piracy could add up to £215 billion in lost revenue globally, while in the Mena region, losses in revenue due to digital piracy amount to over £750 million every year."

Monday, 6 June 2016

Korea to support the UAE Ministry of Economy's industrial property program

New from various sources of the signing of three MoUs between the UAe and South Korea. One of the MoUs deals with support of the UAE Ministry of Economy by the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

Khaleej Times (here) reports:

"......The most significant outcome of the committee meeting was the signing of three key memorandums of understanding (MoUs).....Another MoU involves the secondment of IT experts from the Korean Intellectual Property Office (Kipo) to the UAE Ministry of Economy in line with the latter's programme for industrial property......Participants discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in key sectors, including...intellectual property rights..."


Gulfbase.com (here) reports:

"The UAE Ministry of Economy has launched a work plan for developing its Industrial Property sector at various levels in cooperation with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the Korea Institute of Patent Information (KIPI). The move follows up on the MOU signed by the Ministry and Korea during the UAE-Korea Joint Economic Committee Meeting concluded recently in Abu Dhabi.

The work plan forms part of the Ministry of Economy’s preparations for establishing its ‘International Centre for Registration of Patents’ as well as the implementation of the recommendations of the UAE’s Ministerial Development Council presented in early May 2016.

In line with the plan, a delegation from the Ministry headed by Eng. Mohammed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs, and accompanied by Dr Ali Al-Hosni, Assistant Under-Secretary for Intellectual Property Affairs, and Khalfan Al Suwaidi, Industrial Property Director, visited the Republic of South Korea last month. The group met KIPO representatives and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in developing Ministry procedures related to industrial property and to prepare a programme for the automation of industrial property applications as stipulated in the MoU signed between the two countries during the latest UAE-Korea Economic Joint Committee meeting.

The agreement with the KIPO includes dedicating IT experts at the Ministry for the automation of the industrial property applications project and providing consultation, training and technical support for the automated system. The two parties also agreed that the KIPO and KIPI will provide consultations and suggestions on the development of related regulations.

Al Shehhi said that the plan is part of the Ministry’s efforts to further develop national industries and create an environment conducive to innovation as well as the protection of intellectual property rights in the sector."

UAE - enforcement in Abu Dhabi so far in 2016

News from a report in Emirates 24/7 (here) of enforcement by the Abu Dhabi Department for Economic Development so far in 2016. The report reads:

"Over 200,000 fakes seized in Abu Dhabi
ADDED launched 247 inspection raids, issued 1555 fines

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development’s Abu Dhabi Business Center (ADBC) conducted 247 inspection raids in outlets and commercial establishments in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region in the first quarter of 2016, and confiscated 200,428 counterfeit products. These included auto spare parts, electronic devices, clothes, accessories, beauty products and other items.

In it’s Q1, 2016 report, ADDED’s Commercial Protection Division said the raid resulted in issuing 1,555 fines against outlets and establishments that violated laws and regulations of practising business activity in some sectors across the Abu Dhabi.

Seven stores were closed for non-compliance with the emirate’s business practice laws and regulations.

According to the report, 33,164 field visits were conducted to Abu Dhabi’s stores and establishments in Q1 of 2016.

In the same period, the Commercial Protection Division received 945 complaints from consumers and trade mark owners about wrong or illegal practices by some businesses, street vendors and others.

Consumer awareness during Ramadan

Khalifa bin Salem Al Mansouri, ADDED Acting Undersecretary, stressed the ADDED commitment to trace and eliminate all negative practices that will affect the performance of the business environment in Abu Dhabi. He lauded the role of ADDED’s strategic partners across government, semi-government and private sectors in helping the authority achieve its strategic goals of establishing a competitive business environment in the emirate.

During the month of Ramadan, ADDED conducts inspection visits to vegetable and fruit markets, livestock markets and other outlets across the three regions of the emirate in coordination with the Ministry of Economy, he said and added that ADDED also distributes pamphlets to raise consumer awareness during Ramadan.

He called on the public in Abu Dhabi to report any violations to competent bodies, especially ADDED as it is responsible for the regulation of commercial activities in the emirate in coordination with other stakeholders.

Al Mansouri stressed that in line with its endeavours to promote its role in the field of commercial protection in Abu Dhabi, ADDED has initiated procedures to enforce laws of competition and intellectual property protection, to develop electronic platforms to receive consumer complaints, to launch awareness campaigns to ensure consumer rights and protection and to enforce governance mechanisms along with strategic partners in the field of consumer protection.

"The ADDED is now implementing a number of strategic commercial protection projects in cooperation with relevant government partners in the emirate, including the establishment of a consumer protection center, market monitoring, restructuring the retail sector like supermarkets, geographic coding, mobile truck vending, eliminating nominal or mock trade licenses and the provision of the services of the Commercial Protection Division through smart mobile applications.

Raids and complaints

The report also said that 58 inspection raids were conducted in January to trace commercial fraud and combat negative practices in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region. They resulted in confiscating 2,126 electronic devices, clothes and accessories in addition to 234 sheep from street vendors.

There were 88 raids in February, resulting in the seizure of 162,816 items, including counterfeit car spare parts, electronic devices, clothes, accessories, beauty products. Apart from these 27.5 tonnes of vegetables and fruits and 3 tonnes of clothes and household items were also confiscated from street vendors.

In March 101 inspection visits resulted in the confiscation of 35,486 items including car spare parts, electronic devices, clothes, accessories, beauty products as well as 10,220 Kg of vegetables and fruits.

Region-wise, the report noted that the city of Abu Dhabi has seen 19,657 field inspection visits to stores and commercial establishments during the first quarter of 2016. During these visits, 761 fines were issued. The Commercial Protection Division received 490 complaints from customers and trade name owners in the city.

In Al Ain, 8,963 field inspection visits were made to stores and commercial establishments during the same period, in which 707 fines were issued. The Commercial Protection Division received 441 complaints from customers and trade name owners in the Al Ain.

As for the Western Region, 4,544 field inspection visits were conducted in the first quarter, where 87 fines were issued against violators. The Commercial Protection Division received only 19 complaints from customers and trade name owners in the Western Region."

Good work

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Syria - increase in official fees - effective 22 May 2016

News from good friends SMAS that official fees in Syria increased on 22 May 2016.  The email report from SMAS reads:

"Please be advised that the Syrian Ministry of Interior Trade and Consumer Protection has issued a new decision No. 1171 dated 15 May 2016, stipulating that the publication fees of accepted trademarks, industrial deigns, industrial models applications (for new application, as well as, renewals) and the recordal of changes applications have been increased for local and foreign applicants, bearing in mind that the said decision came in force as from  22 May 2016.

The new fees will be as follows:

Description
Amount
Syrian pound
Publication fees of new/renewal applications for trademarks, Industrial designs/models (1st & 2nd publication fees) 
70,000
Extra publication fees for each extra ten items for new/renewal trademark applications (1st & 2nd publication fees) 
2000
Extra publication fees for each additional industrial design /model in the one and the same application
12000
Publication fees for recordal of changes applications
25,000
Extra publication fees for each additional trademark/industrial design/model 
5000
Extra publication fees for each additional change in the one and same application
2000
" 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bahrain - significant increases in official fees - effective 29 May 2016

News from good friends SMAS that official fees in Bahrain were increased on 29 May 2016. While full details are not available, this part of the Empty Quarter has been told that the official fees for a trade mark search for one mark in one class have increased from US$80 to US$265.

News from good friends Saba & Co by email. Their notice reads:

"Bahrain: Substantial Increase in Official Fees and Introduction of Online Publication

Pursuant to Ministerial Decree no. 65 of 2016 approving the Implementing Regulations of the GCC Trademark Law, the official fees for trademark related matters have increased significantly across the board in comparison with their current level. The new rates became effective as of May 29, 2016 and will be applied on all new as well as pending applications.

The increase in fees has also been coupled with the introduction of an electronic Official Gazette (eOG). The eOG will be available in English and Arabic and is expected to be published every Thursday of each month. This electronic version will contain the particulars of each accepted trademark application and a representative drawing, along with a list of cancelled registrations. It will also contain the particulars of approved Recordals of License Agreements and Transfers of Ownership. For the time being, the eOG will not be including a list of renewed registrations, notices of office actions, as well as particulars of international registrations designating Bahrain.

The first eOG, planned to be issued on June 2, 2016, is expected to include around 1,000 publications. On the publication date or shortly thereafter, applicants should carefully review the information that appears in the eOG for accuracy. Any interested party may file an opposition against a published trademark within 60 days from publication date."

Oman - trade names must be in Arabic

News from the Omani Ministry of Commerce & Industry (here) of ministerial decision No 124/2016 Issued on 27 April 2016. Effective from the day after publication in Official Gazette 1145. The report reads:

"1 May 2016: Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry has issued a ministerial decision No 124/2016 regarding new regulations for the registration of trade names. The regulations states that the trade name should be formed of original Arabic words or translated to Arabic and it should not contain foreign words except for the subsidiaries of international companies registered in the Sultanate or the joint Omani-foreign companies or the wholly foreign-owned firms. The decision stated that registered trade name should not be split or changed either by addition or omission and the subsidiaries of a registered commercial entity are not allowed to go under an independent trade name. As per the regulation , the ministry of commerce and industry may reject a proposed trade name or change an existing trade name that is deemed noncompliant with the regulations. The regulations ban the registration of trade names that are consistent with well-known local or overseas firms. Banned trade names also include those bearing political, religious or military connotations or are consistent with the names of existing social or charitable organizations. The regulations also ban registration of trade names containing the word ‘Oman’ or Omaniyah."

Sunday, 29 May 2016

UAE - Youth Council endowment includes advice on Intellectual Property

News from Gulf News (here) of the creation of a new endowment for youth projects which includes, amongst many other benefits, advice on intellectual property. The report reads:

"Dubai: An innovative endowment fund to support youth projects was launched on Tuesday by the UAE Youth Council (UAEYC).

Contributing organisations to the endowment will provide services valued at Dh5 million annually, amounting to endowment assets of Dh63 million.

The endowment will bet set up in cooperation with the Mohammad Bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy (MBRGCEC). Unlike traditional endowments that provide financial assistance, this innovative endowment will also allow contributing organisations to provide additional services.

The project will see the contribution of six organisations: In5 innovation centre, Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre, Impact Hub, UAE Barq, Wamda and a group of lawyers established in compliance with Dubai Chamber’s statute.

In5 centre will be offering endowment services to a group of youth projects, services include providing them with a workspace, meeting halls, production studios and technology labs. It will also offer training programmes.

UAE Barq will offer a media platform to support youth projects, such as providing them with advertisement services to promote their projects to a wide audience by using UAE Barq’s various media channels. Youths will also have access to promotional and counselling services from Wamda in order to boost the success of their business.

The Lawyers work group will offer a legal bundle that include training programmes for youth projects that deal with commercial contracts, franchising, intellectual property, commercial and employee-related issues, as well as commercial arbitration. The group will also allocate consultation hours to answer any legal inquiries posed by youths with business projects and ideas.

Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, Minister of State for Youth, said that the global vision of the endowment, which was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, revived the concept of endowments as a tool for developing societies.

Al Mazroui indicated that youth projects are a key pillar for economies of various societies. She pointed out that the cooperation between the UAEYC and MBRGCEC has created an opportunity for the UAE to be one of the top countries in supporting Emirati youths’ projects by using an innovative endowment that will contribute to the UAE’s economic development.

She thanked all organisations who provided innovative endowment-related solutions that contribute to developing an ideal business environment for youth projects. Al Mazroui expressed her confidence in this innovative project, which will have a prominent impact in boosting the success of youth projects."

Oman - WIPO seminar on enforcement of Intellectual Property

News from the Oman News Agency (here) of a seminar conducted with WIPO on the enforcement of intellectual property in Oman. The report reads:

"Muscat, May 16 (ONA) ---- Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Royal Oman Police and the Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI) in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) organized today a seminar at PACI's HQs' on enforcing the intellectual property rights law by law enforcement officers.

The opening ceremony of the seminar was sponsored by Maj. Gen Sulaiman bin Mohammed al- Harthy, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Customs for Financial and Administrative Affairs who said that the seminar comes as one of a series of seminars that aim at protecting the national products and preventing the entry of imitated products to the Sultanate through land and marine ports.

The first seminar sessions included a number of topics, such as the different intellectual property rights, adopting a balanced approach in enforcing these rights and the legalnational framework through which the IP rights can be enforced."

Friday, 27 May 2016

Arabic learning resources - USPTO's Global Intellectual Property Academy

This part of the Empty Quarter likes outreach schemes. The Global Intellectual Property Academy (here) has usefully produced it's materials in Arabic (here). Useful. Thank you.

WIPO - PCT Guides - Oman

News from WIPO today that these parts of the PCT Guides for Oman have been updated:

General Information - Annex B (here)
Receiving Offices - Annex C (here)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Kuwait - joining the PCT

News from good friends Saba & Co (here) and AGIP (here) of progress by Kuwait towards joining the Patent Co-operation Treaty.

Saba reports:

"Barely a year and a half after issuing Law no. 36/2014 paving the way for Kuwait’s accession to the Paris Convention in November 2014, Kuwait’s Council of Ministers voted and published on March 27, 2016 a new law, Law no. 11/2016, which paves the way for the country’s accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Building on its determination to strengthen and enforce its economic growth, Kuwait realizes that a developed and advanced IP system is an important tool in achieving this goal. With the introduction of this Law, the Council empowers and entrusts the Foreign Ministry with depositing its instruments with the WIPO thus ushering a new era of patent procurement in Kuwait. The actual date of accession and the date on which the Treaty will go into force are yet to be determined.

Needless to say, there are a number of questions that remain unanswered at this stage, as it is important to determine if following the implementation of the Law, the Patent Office will introduce and publish new regulations which would provide for local substantive examination and search capabilities to name a couple. Furthermore, it remains uncertain if the Patent Office intends to start granting patents and receiving annuity payments.

We expect these issues to be addressed during the period between the country’s accession and the first deadlines for national stage entries of PCT applications in Kuwait.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

AGIP reports:

"KUWAIT – Kuwait’s Council of Ministers published the new Law No. 11/2016, which represents a step in the country’s accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Joining the PCT enables Kuwait to register international patents through the national offices of the state members. The PCT system is considered more cost effective than filing separate national or regional applications. However, the published law is effective only after signing the agreement and publishing the implementing regulations."

Saudi Arabia - changes to trade mark publications

News reaches this part of the Empty Quarter of changes to publication of trade marks in Saudi Arabia.

The Trade Mark Office is moving the publication of marks from the Ministry of Commerce & Investment website (http://eservices.mci.gov.sa/Eservices/Commerce/Trademarks.aspx). The new website is set up only for the purposes of publication (http://aamaly.sa/TM). Unfortunately, the new website does not, at the moment, include the trade mark number in the publication. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Kuwait - no more local patent filing

News from good friends Saba & Co (on their website here) that the Kuwaiti Patent Office is no longer accepting patent applications and that all new applications must be filed at the GCC Patent Office. The report reads:

"The Kuwaiti Ministry of Trade and Industry approved Law no. 115 of 2016 on the regulations implementing patent Law no. 71 of 2013. The new Law was published on April 3, 2016 and went into effect the following day.

Accordingly, the Kuwaiti Patent Law and regulations which are in force as of April 4, 2016 are the GCC Patent Law and its Implementing Regulations, respectively. Indeed, Kuwaiti Law no. 71 of 2013 is the GCC Patent Law, while Kuwaiti Law no. 115 of 2016 is the regulations implementing the GCC Patent Law.

Furthermore, the Kuwaiti Patent Office stopped accepting new patent applications as of April 4, 2016. It is advising parties interested in seeking patent protection in Kuwait to utilize the GCC regional patent office. As a reminder, a GCC patent application automatically designates all six GCC member countries, and no further validation is required upon grant.

Given that Kuwait recently issued a law (Law no. 11/2016) paving the way for the country’s accession to the PCT, we expect more news to come out of the country with regards to its patent system.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Qatar - Patent Grievances Committee

News from good friends Saba & Co (on their website here) of the formation of a Grievances Committee to hear issues relating to patent applications. The report reads:

"Now that the Qatari Patent Office has been actively examining patent applications for the past several months and has even issued decisions on several applications, there is a need for applicants and interested parties to have a clear mechanism for appealing or opposing such decisions. As part of the country's efforts in advancing its IP procurement, Qatar recently approved a draft decision on the formation of a Grievances Committee.

The Committee is to be headed by the Director of the Patent Office and its members will be composed of representatives from the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and Qatar Chamber of Commerce. The Committee's main functions will include handling enforcement and litigations concerning registration of patents and compulsory licenses.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Iraq - new requirements for class 5 applications

News from good friends Saba & Co (on their website here) of changes to practice in Iraq for class 5 applications. They report that:

"The Trademark Office in Baghdad recently introduced a revised set of requirements in support of trademarks applications in class 5, even though there was no Ministerial Resolution issued in this regard. Applicants are now required to provide the information listed below when filing applications covering pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations and sanitary preparations for medical purposes. This will apply on all new as well as pending applications that have not been examined yet.
  • International Nonproprietary Name
  • Name of manufacturer
  • Name of distributor
  • Drug formulation/Dosage form
After submission of the above information, the TMO is expected to obtain the approval of the country’s Ministry of Health before the underlying applications are placed for examination. The application will be rejected on formal grounds if applicant fails to provide all of the required information. It is still unclear whether the information must be admitted at the time of filing or within a specified period of time from filing date.

Syria is the only country in the Arab region to impose filing requirements that are specific to class 5 only (certificate of origin and list of ingredients). With Iraq now on board, the registration process for pharmaceutical trademarks becomes unique to class 5 in these two countries. For the remaining countries in the region, the process remains standard regardless of the type of class involved.

We will be reviewing files of all pending trademark applications and will be notifying clients of all missing information in order to complete the records at the TMO, and eventually place the applications in the pipeline for examination.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Kuwait - new Copyright law

Hot on the heels of the publication of the USTR Special 301 report last month in wish Kuwait remained on the Special Watch List in part due to not having passed a new Copyright Law, news reaches this part of the Empty Quarter that the National Assembly in Kuwait approved the draft law yesterday.

The Special 301 report (here) says:

"Kuwait remains on the Priority Watch List in 2016. Kuwait was elevated from the Watch List in November 2014 at the conclusion of an OCR, because Kuwait failed to introduce to the National Assembly a copyright law consistent with international standards, and had not resumed effective enforcement against copyright and trademark infringement. Although Kuwaiti officials initially took steps to resume enforcement following the announcement of the 2014 OCR, effective enforcement actions have reportedly significantly decreased since June 2015, particularly against trade in counterfeit goods. The United States awaits improvements in copyright and trademark enforcement and the passage of long-overdue copyright legislation that is consistent with Kuwait’s international commitments. The United States stands ready to work with Kuwait toward resolving these important issues."

The Arab Times online (here) reports:

"KUWAIT CITY, May 10: The National Assembly unanimously approved the draft law on copyright and related rights in the first and second deliberations on Tuesday. Information Minister and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah thanked the Parliament for adopting the law, considering its importance in the culture of Kuwait.

According to the report of the Educational, Cultural and Guidance Affairs Committee, Kuwait joined several regional and international conventions on intellectual property rights because of the need to protect copyright and related rights.

The law consists of 45 articles in three chapters. Article One defines ‘written work’ as every innovative literary, artistic or scientific work or a way of expression with significance or purpose. The same article defines ‘related rights’ as the rights inherent in the author’s copyright and anything similar in some respects (right of public performance, the right of producers of phonograms or right of broadcasting institutions).

Article Two states that protection accorded to copyright and related rights covers natural and legal persons — Kuwaitis, foreigners who are permanent residents in the State of Kuwait and foreigners from any of the member-States in the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works or in the World Trade Organization and others.

Article Four enumerates cases where protection is not applied as per the law.

Article Five states that national folklore is owned by the public so the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature must fully support such works.

Article Six stipulates that the moral rights of the author and his general successor over his written books is permanent and cannot be waived or confiscated.

Article Eight gives authority to the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature to exercise the moral rights provided for in Article Six if the author dies without an heir, as well as the works of unknown authors.

Article 37 grants the customs authorities the right to order non-customs clearance for goods if any of the protected rights is violated. Article 38 mandates the Kuwait National Library to establish a register for depositing works, sound recordings, radio shows and performances, while the executive regulations should determine procedures and rules in this regard.

Article 39 stipulates the right of the concerned persons to lodge a complaint against decisions on refusal to register and deposit works.

Article 40 states that the Public Prosecution has the sole authority to investigate, act and prosecute in all crimes arising from the application of the law within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division in the High Court to look into criminal proceedings stipulated in this law and allows submission of an appeal regarding its ruling."

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Kuwait - new trade mark registration procedures

The electronic copy of the Al Tamimi & Co law update arrived recently and includes an article on the 'New Kuwait Trademark Registration Procedures'. The full text can be found on their website here

Egypt - An overview of IP Laws in Egypt

The electronic copy of the Al Tamimi & Co law update arrived recently and includes 'An Overview of IP Laws in Egypt'. The full text can be found on their website here

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Saudi - amended Implementing Regulations for the Law for Patents relating to PCT applications

Following earlier reports (here and here) of the accession of Saudi Arabia to the PCT, news from good friends SMAS, Saba, and AGIP of the amendments to the implementing regulations relating to the implementation of the PCT in Saudi.

SMAS report in a circular sent by email in January 2016 that:

"King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (The Saudi patent office ) has issued the amended Implementing Regulations of the Law of Patents, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Varieties, and Industrial Designs, the Regulations included new provisions regarding patent applications filed under the PCT scheme. This came in line with accession of Saudi Arabia to the PCT. The major amendments could be outlined as follows:

  • The Saudi patent office became receiving office of international PCT applications.
  • The Patent Office shall consider the international filing date of the PCT application as the date of filing the national phase application. 
  • The annuity fees for national phase applications shall be based on the international filing date of the PCT application starting from the 1st annuity and shall be paid at the beginning of each Calendar year, starting with the year following the filing of the international application, where the said fees are paid , together with accumulated annuity fees.
  • All the formal requirements, including the legalized Power of Attorney, Deed Of Assignment and Priority documents, shall be fulfilled within 60 days from the filing date.
  • Correction of priority claim or addition of priority is possible through request submitted to the Patent Office provided that the conditions pertinent thereto, as stipulated by the Regulations, are fulfilled and the prescribed fees are paid .
  • Restoration of patent application which was rejected or abandoned due to reasons beyond applicant will, is possible through request submitted to the Patent Office provided the conditions pertinent thereto as detailed by Regulations are fulfilled and the prescribed fees are paid. 
  • In case applicant has not been able to comply with the request(s) of the Patent Office within the specified grace period it would be possible to request further two months extension prior to expiry of initial deadline provided the conditions pertinent thereto are fulfilled and the prescribed fees are paid . Annuity fees are exempted from such extension and should be paid within the prescribed grace period.
  • Multiple design applications are not acceptable in Saudi Arabia , and a design application should not incorporate more than 7 drawings.
The aforesaid new Implementing Regulations are effective as of 19 December 2015.

Should you need any assistance and/or information in respect of the above matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at saudi@smas-ip.com."

Saba's February newsletter (here) contained this report:

"Saudi Arabia recently published new Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law to include provisions concerning the national stage entry of PCT patent applications. These regulations entered into force starting December 19, 2015.

Revisions to the Implementing Regulations include the possibility of requesting extensions of time during prosecution, and the possibility to restore abandoned or canceled patent applications.

According to the new regulations, the international filing date will be the filing date of a PCT national entry and the base year for calculating annuities. Annuity fees for applications will still be due between January 1 and March 31 of each year, starting with the first payment that will include any back payments the year following the entry date. The usual grace period with a late fee will still apply through June 30 of the same year.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

AGIP's January newsletter contained this report:

"The Patent office has implemented a new calculation of PCT National Phase annuity years as from January 1, 2016. The new calculation stipulates that the annuity year starts from the international filing date of the corresponding PCT application.

According to the Patent Office, all pending annuities are due for payment during the period from January 1st till March 31st, 2016.

The patent term of the Saudi Patents through PCT applications is 20 years calculated from the international filing date."

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

WIPO - PCT guides

News from WIPO that these parts of the PCT Guides have been updated:

Receiving Offices – Annex C:
Bahrain (here)
Egypt (here)
Qatar (here)
Saudi Arabia (here)
Syria (here)

International Searching Authorities – Annex D
Egypt (here)

International Preliminary Examining Authorities – Annex E
Egypt (here)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Oman - eGovernment Services Portal

This part of the Empty Quarter has stumbled across the official Oman eGovernment Services Portal (oman.om), part of the government's eOman Strategy. The site is clearly set out and easy to use. Importantly, there is a section for Intellectual Property (here) and usefully a section on how to request a search of a trade name (here).

The Intellectual Property section links through to the website of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (here) where there are copies of the laws in Arabic.

This part of the Empty Quarter is delighted to see large amounts of useful information made available to businesses and consumers by the Omani government.

The UAE and Jordan sign an agreement to enhance joint efforts in SMEs, innovation and R&D

News from WAM (here) and Gulf News (here) of the signing of an agreement between the UAE and Jordan in November 2015. The report on WAM reads:

"The UAE Ministry of Economy and the Jordanian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supplies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, envisaging a wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries in the fields of innovation and research, and developing Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs.

The three-year agreement, which consists of 13 clauses aims to build a long-term strategic alliance between the two sides.

The MoU was signed in Amman by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and Maha Ali, Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade and Supplies, during the UAE-Jordan Economic Forum and in the presence of Dr Abdullah Al Nasour, Prime Minister of Jordan.

The MoU reflects the desire of both countries to set up a reciprocally beneficial network of business cooperation for young entrepreneurs running SMEs.

Both countries are also cooperating in the exchange of knowledge and expertise among relevant government departments, including the Jordan Investment Authority and Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, JEDCO, and equivalent UAE bodies such as the SMEs Council, SME Fund, and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The agreement will look into preparing a work plan to identify further areas of cooperation as well as to encourage government entities, business development centres, and private sector organisations to set up joint projects among SMEs focusing on technological innovation. It will also facilitate access to sources of funding, help SMEs explore viable market opportunities, and enable exchange of information on intellectual property rights pertaining to SMEs in both the UAE and Jordan.

In addition, the agreement will explore the possibility of cooperation for purposes of building networks of communication and brokerage business between important stakeholders involved in innovation initiatives such as companies, academic and research institutions, and business development firms, particularly those involved in the SME sector. The agreement will enable mutual coordination among various government departments to remove the commercial hurdles facing SMEs.

The MoU also envisages closer interaction among government, academic and private sector organisations in both countries on a regular basis, and another key aspect is the inclusion of social responsibility as an integral part of all partnerships developed as a result of this agreement.

Sultan Al Mansouri said that the MoU is consistent with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and in line with the UAE Cabinet's announcement of 2015 as the UAE Year of Innovation.

He said, "This MoU is part of our efforts to actualise the National Strategy for Innovation that Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched last year. The Vice President has stressed the need to deepen cultural innovation nation-wide. This vision reflects the Ministry's own strategy to expedite the process of transition to a knowledge economy based on creativity and innovation in tune with the UAE Vision 2021 that seeks to enhance the country's global competitiveness and economic sustainability." The UAE Minister of Economy pointed out that the importance of the MoU is highlighted with the fact that it focuses on three areas of paramount importance for the country, and they are: Innovation, SMEs and research and development.

He said, "These are areas that form the strategic pivot of the wise leadership?s determination to make the UAE a leader in many fields. Innovation is not a choice, but an imperative for any country trying to consolidate its position in the global economy. The UAE realised this early on and included innovation among its goals as far back as in its Vision 2012." Al Mansouri added, "Last year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the National Strategy for Innovation. The strategy included 30 initiatives to be implemented in three years. Covering seven sectors - energy, transportation, health, education, technology, water and space. The strategy proposed the setting up of the National Innovation Committee to convene a number of federal entities to work together on the execution of the National Innovation Strategy and to involve the private sector in the drive." Many public sector and private sector organisations have already commenced the establishment of innovation and development centres to organise economic and academic activities focused on innovation.

Al Mansouri went on to point out that SMEs played an important and contributory role in the national economy. "They were integral to the UAE's efforts to achieve sustainable development, and helped enhance the country's global competitiveness, while also supporting its transition to a knowledge economy based on creativity and innovation," he said.

The promotion of SMEs and encouragement of young entrepreneurs is also part of the UAE?s efforts to diversify its economy. SMEs currently constitute 94% of companies operating in the UAE, and contribute around 60% of the country's GDP. The UAE Government is looking to take this figure to 70% by 2021. In this context, strengthening cooperation with other countries with respect to SMEs is crucial to the UAE's economic sustainability objectives.

Also commenting on the agreement, the Jordanian Minister Maha Ali, said, "This MoU is an important bilateral partnership. It will add a new and collaborative dimension to the relations between our countries," confirming that innovation, SMEs and research and development is one of the important sectors of strategic development for both the UAE and Jordan."