The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office has resumed handling of patent applications, examinations and annuities on behalf of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the State of Kuwait from January 01, 2023.

The GCC Patent Office is now receiving Paris convention as well as PCT applications on behalf of the designated GCC member countries Bahrain and the State of Kuwait. However, there is no update on other GCC member countries, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding filing of the patent applications through the GCC patent office.

The timeline for filing the Paris convention patent applications in each designated GCC member country is within 12-months from the priority date, and filing the PCT applications is within 30 months from the priority date.

The GCC Patent Office will examine the received patent applications formally and substantively. The major amendment is that the designated GCC member countries will not examine the patent applications and will not perform any procedures for annuities that will be due before grant. Further, if the patent applications will be granted by the GCC Patent Office, the granted patent will only have legal effect in the designated GCC member countries, which as of now can be, Bahrain and Kuwait and it will not provide legal coverage to the other GCC member countries.

Further, the official patent filing fees have been reduced with the recent amendments. Previously, the official patent filing fee for individuals was Saudi Riyals 2000 and for corporate applicants, Saudi Riyals 4000 per GCC member country. Now, with the recent amendments, the official patent filing fee per GCC member country for individuals is Saudi Riyals 1500, and Saudi Riyals 3000 for companies. The other official fees, including annuities, remain unaffected. However, the official patent search fee has increased for individuals to Saudi Riyals 1000 and for companies to Saudi Riyals 2000.

Processing the Patent Applications in the GCC Patent Office:

  • The Applicant can file the Paris convention or national patent application before the GCC patent office by paying prescribed official fees of the designated member countries Bahrain and/or Kuwait.
  • The as filed patent application will be reviewed by the GCC patent office. The authorized person/agent will be invited to pay the examination fee.
  • The GCC patent office will take on the substantive examination of the patent application upon receiving the examination fee.
  • The examination will be conducted and if the patent application fulfills the Patent Office requirements, a patent grant notice will be issued, and the granted patent will be referred to the designated GCC member countries Bahrain and Kuwait.
  • The designated Bahrain and Kuwait Patent Offices will be issued the grant certificates upon receiving the payment of grant and publication fees from the applicant.

There is no specific provision in the recent amendments on how the GCC patent office will handle the annuities and whether the same will be paid before the GCC patent office. As per understanding, the GCC patent office will maintain annuities before grant, i.e., second and third annuities. Thereafter, each national office will maintain the annuities for the granted applications.

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