Egypt has finalized drafting a new patent law fully compatible with the TRIPs Agreement. It provides protection for product patent, including pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals, and for a protection period of 20 years. Dr. Fawzi Al-Rifa'ai, the Registrar of Patents, pointed out that the Academy of Scientific Research has lately signed an agreement with the US Development Agency to develop the Egyptian Patent Office. He added that development work includes drafting a new patent law, upgrading the office facilities, supplying modern equipment and training of office staff.

Dr. Al-Rifa'ai explained that the office will occupy a prominent status during the upcoming stage especially in the light of recent international developments under the GATT-TRIPs Agreement and the importance of innovation encouragement in developing domestic industry.

The Registrar of Patents went on to say that the upcoming stage will witness attracting investors in the field of innovation and that the Patent Office will connect the investors with the inventors. Encouragement of inventions and innovations will continue as new branch offices will be opened for the Innovation Encouragement Department.

Dr. Al-Rifa'ai said that the office has been made to function as a regional office for examining patent applications for the Arab countries, if they wish to do so, so that the Egyptian inventor may secure protection for his invention in the Arab countries. He said that the office will undertake training functions for the staff, industrial sector participant, academic researches, and scientific research labs and will activate cooperation with the European Patent Office.

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