IP/Legal Practice In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, the second largest country in the Arab World and the fifth largest country in Asia is one of the most important countries in the Middle East. Being one of the world’s largest oil producer and largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia is a key country. The country controls the world’s second largest oil reserve and sixth largest gas reserve. (The rankings are subject to change). The Saudi Arabia has been ranked high on the Human Development Index categorizing as World Bank High Income Economy. Being a major power with a strong influence in the world politics, Saudi Arabia is the only country to be a part of G20 major economies.

Saudi is considered as a regional and middle power with the highest economy in the middle east. With more young population, Saudi is on the forefront of being the industrialized economy coupled with the strong technological interference.

Previously, three governmental bodies had the authority to protect and enforce intellectual property rights: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry for trademarks, the Ministry of Culture and Information for copyright, and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology for patents. All of these powers have now been transferred to the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP). The Commercial Courts preside over infringement related disputes.

Patents in Saudi Arabia

Owing to the importance of the patent system and the patent regime, Saudi Arabia provides a comprehensive coverage of the patent system. There are at present two overlapping patents systems in Saudi Arabia.

The GCC Patents of Inventions Regulation of 2001, which is an amendment of an earlier statute of 1992, was approved in Saudi Arabia by Royal Decree No M/28 of 2001. This permits the registration of patents with effect throughout the GCC countries. The GCC Patent Office is based in Riyadh.

Under Saudi Arabian law, patents are governed by the Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Varieties, and Industrial Models Regulation, Royal Decree No M/27 of 20 Jumada Awal 1425 Hejra (corresponding to 17 July 2005) and its Implementing Rules, issued by the President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology No 161-2-3607329 of 30 Dhul Hijja 1436 Hejra (corresponding to 13 October 2015).

These regulations give effect to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property under Saudi Arabian domestic law.

Filing For Registration

Being a fundamental principle that patents are territorial in nature, any registration outside the Saudi Arabia territory does not grant a registration in the Saudi Arabia. The two major ways to enter into Saudi Arabia are firstly, the patent holder or applicant must file an application with a regional office, such as the Saudi Arabian Patent Office or secondly, through the GCC Channel. For taking the route of GCC, there is no requirement of designating member states of interest (either at the time of filing or at the time of grant) or validating a granted patent in the member states of interest.

In the case where the patent is granted by the Saudi Arabian Patent Office, the invention or technology will receive protection in Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, if the patent is granted by the GCC Patent Office, the invention or technology will be protected in all the GCC members states.

As earlier stated, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) is the main functioning authority for the grant of patents and other IPs. For the registration process, the SAIP website gives the access to the online registration process. It is important to note that the application filed must be Arabic in language. In case, the applicant lives outside of Saudi Arabia, then the application must designate a authorised agent within the kingdom.

What Cannot Be Registered?

Saudi patent law clearly stipulates subject matters which are not patentable. The following cannot be protected as patents:

  • Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods.
  • Schemes, rules and methods of conducting commercial activities, exercising pure mental activities or playing a game.
  • Plants, animals and processes – which are mostly organic – used for the production of plants or animals, with the exception of micro-organisms, non-organic and microbiology processes.
  • Methods of surgical or therapeutic treatment of human or animal body and methods of diagnosis applied to human or animal bodies, with the exception of products used in any of these methods.

In addition, patent will not be granted if exploitation of patent contradicts with principles of Shariah (Islamic) law.

Documents Necessary For Filing

Some of the documents which are necessary for filing are:

  • a request to grant a patent;
  • an application for a patent containing applicant’s and inventor’s information and addresses;
  • patent specification (description, claims, drawings, abstract);
  • priority data, if any;
  • payment of the filing fees.
  • Power of Attorney

In case the applicant is the resident of one of the member countries of Paris Union and wants to claim priority of an application that was filed there, information relating to the priority claim (including the country, application number, application filing date, and patent number) should be included in the application.

Examination and Grant

Some of the documents which are necessary for filing are:

After the application is being filed, it moves for the examination. Applications are examined as to compliance with formal requirements and as to substance. In case, any formal document is incomplete, the patent office can ask the applicant to fulfil the required formalities. Upon completion of the formal examination, the application is published. Substantive examination will be conducted if the fee for substantive examination is paid within three months from notification regarding the amount of this fee, which may vary due to the complexity of each application.

Some of the documents which are necessary for filing are:

With regards to the validity of the patents, the Patents are valid for 20 years from the date of filing. Post which the annual maintenance fees are also due starting from the next year of the filing date.

Official Fees (in Saudi Riyal)

Some of the documents which are necessary for filing are:

(Please Note- The fees are subject to change with minor variations. The firm will not be liable for any discrepancy in the fees. The Charges will be taken as per the fees relevant at the time of providing the services.)

Services For Companies For Individuals
Filing fee 800 400
Fee for amendment 200 100
Grant and publication fee 1000 500
Fee for reinstatement of rights 2000 1000
Fee for restoration of the right of priority 2000 1000
Annuity 1st Year 500 250
Annuity 2nd Year 1000 500
Annuity 3rd Year 1500 750
Annuity 4th Year 2000 1000
Annuity 5th Year 2500 1250
Annuity 6th Year 3000 1500
Annuity 7th Year 3500 1750
Annuity 8th Year 4000 2000
Annuity 9th Year 4500 2250
Annuity 10th Year 5000 2500
Annuity 11th Year 5500 2750
Annuity 12th Year 6000 3000
Annuity 13th Year 6500 3250
Annuity 14th Year 7000 3500
Annuity 15th Year 7500 3750
Annuity 16th Year 8000 4000
Annuity 17th Year 8500 4250
Annuity 18th Year 9000 4500
Annuity 19th Year 9500 4750
Annuity 20th Year 10000 5000