IP/Legal Practice In Oman

Oman, officially known as the Sultanate of Oman, is a major country in the Western Asia sharing its land borders with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Oman has marked itself in having a strong geopolitical impact in the region being the member of United Nations, Arab League, Gulf Co-operation Council, Organisation of Islamic Co-operation. Not only with this, Oman has a strong economy owing to its tourism, trading and agricultural produce where it has been categorized as a high-income economy. With the huge dependency of oil exports, mineral fuels have accounted for 82.2% of total produce exports. Tourism is the fastest growing industry in Oman.

With the socio-economic structure being hyper-centralized rentier welfare state, 80% of the nationals are employers in the private sector. Moreover, the free trade agreement with the United States has eliminated tariff barriers on all consumer and industrial products, and also provided strong protections for foreign businesses investing in Oman. In terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), total investments in 2017 exceeded US$24billion. The highest share of FDI went to the oil and gas sector, which represented around US$13billion (54.2 percent), followed by financial intermediation, which represented US$3.66billion (15.3 percent). FDI is dominated by the United Kingdom with an estimated value of US$11.56billion (48 percent), followed by the UAE USD 2.6billion (10.8 percent), followed by Kuwait USD 1.1billion (4.6 percent).

Patents in Oman

A patent is an exclusive right granted to the inventor against his invention, which may be a product or a process for a new way of doing something, provided that the patent owner discloses the technical information related to his invention in the patent publication. Patents are governed by Royal Decree 82/2000. An invention is eligible for a patent if it is new, includes an innovative concept, and is industrially applicable, be it for new industrial products, used industrial methods and means or by a new application for known industrial methods and means, and is not violating the public order and morals, affecting national security or conflicting the principles of the Islamic Shari’ aa.

For the purpose of applying for patents, the patent application can be made to the Department of Agencies and Intellectual Property at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Oman. The patent owner may use, manufacture, import, or offer for sale the patented product, and no third party may exploit the patent without permission of the patent owner. If a breach of a patent is committed it will give rise to both civil and criminal sentences.

Requirements for Filing

At the time of filing of the patent application, the applicant is required to file:

  • Applicant’s name and address and Inventor’s name and address.
  • Abstract, Specification, claims and drawings (if any) in English & Arabic.  In case, the complete Arabic translation is not ready at the time of filing the application, the inventor can file the application with Arabic translation of the Abstract and Title.
  • Priority Application Number and filing date, PCT Application Number and Filing date (if any)
  • Original Power of Attorney duly notarized and legalized either by the Apostille or legalized by the Consulate of Oman.
  • Deed of Assignment executed by the inventor(s), assigning their patent rights to the applicant
  • A certified copy of the priority document (along with a simple English translation), if it is a national filing.
  • A valid simple copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the applicant company or an extract of their entry in the Commercial Register or a Certificate of Good Standing (along with a simple English translation, if the document is not in English).
Patentability

Like that in other countries, Invention in Oman will be capable of protection if it involves novelty, inventive steps, and is industrially capable. The pre-condition to the protection of invention in Oman, as stated, remains same as in the other countries. Moreover, those inventions, which are contrary to morals or public order, national security, or be incompatible with Sharia Law, Scientific theories, mathematical methods, computer programs, pure mental activities, Plant and animal research, Methods of surgical or medical treatment of human and animal body, will not be granted protection as per the local laws.

Patent registration at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Despite the Omani patent legislation, it may be advisable to have a patent also registered at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There are few advantages of the same where the biggest advantage is the patent owner protection throughout the member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council i.e., Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This provides tremendous benefits to inventors and their counsel in terms of simplicity and consistency of filing for patent protection in the GCC.

Examination

The application is duly examined after 18 months from the filing date for checking all the required document has been submitted. In case, the formalities are incomplete, the Examiner will give the applicant 60 days from the official notification date to fulfil all requirements, else the application will be deemed to be withdrawn. If all are complete, the applicant can settle the substantive examination fees at the time of filing or at any time within the 18 months from the filing.

For the examination, the application will be examined and the examiner will issue his direction of either amendment of the application, rejection of the applicant or acceptance of the same.  For amendment the applicant has 90 days from the official notification date to reply to proceed with the examination of application. For rejection, the applicant has 15 days from the official notification date to appeal the decision before the Appeal Committee. For acceptance, the applicant has to settle the publication fees to publish the application in the official gazette within 90 days from the official notification date.

(Time Limit may vary. Clients are requested to check the official website or be in touch with our attorney)