The final Law Update of 2022 is here, and it’s packed full of articles. The double edition features two focus areas, first is a spotlight on Energy and Resources and second we feature a collection of articles on Transport and Logistics. The developments occurring in these sectors in the MENA region are unprecedented and our lawyers cover vast themes for you.
The Energy and Resources focus features topics such as diversifying energy resources, solar PV, mining in the Middle East, renewable energy and green hydrogen. From a transport perspective, we draw attention to the Bahrain metro project, discuss the challenges and remedies associated with the repossession of an aircraft, and there is advice on what to consider should a party vary the terms of a shipping contract.
This edition navigates you through updates from across jurisdictions such as, Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, and the UAE. Each article is timely and provides insights into legal issues and cases that are affecting these sectors across the region.Read the full edition
HH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud introduced Vision 2030 in April 2016 to achieve HM King Salman Ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud’s directives, with the aim of formulating strategies that express the country’s goals and reflect its capabilities, while diversifying and expanding the economy’s competitiveness and transforming Saudi Arabia into a global financial marketplace. IP is an important component in a country’s economic development.
The Council of Ministers’ decision approving the regulatory arrangements of the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) has been welcomed by citizens and IP owners alike. As a matter of paramount importance for HM King Salman bin Abdulaziz, such decisions drive the development process, bring laws and regulations in line with international conventions signed by Saudi Arabia, enhance the level of legal protection, and position SAIP as a one-stop shop for all matters relating to IP rights in Saudi Arabia.
SAIP is committed to reviewing its message and strategic goals to devise a national strategy on intellectual property, develop IP regulations, provide products and services of the highest professional and quality standards, increase awareness of IP rights, oversee the IPR regime in Saudi Arabia, provide information related to this field, and promote cooperation with IP enforcement agencies and relevant organizations.
SAIP offers a number of relevant laws including the Copyright Law, the Law of Patents, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Varieties and Industrial Designs, and the Trademarks Law.
SAIP aims to regulate, support, develop, nurture, respect, enforce, and promote intellectual property in Saudi Arabia in accordance with international best practices. Indeed, there will be no investment in creativity and innovation if rights are not protected. Hence, SAIP’s role and vision to improve national economic competitiveness, oversee the IP regime in Saudi Arabia, and establish itself as a key IP hub in the MENA region.
Innovation and creativity, and an IP regime that provides the incentives to encourage such human endeavour, lie at the heart of human progress. IP is a significant factor for the future evolution of Saudi Arabia’s economy. Saudi Vision 2030, a reform program that seeks to diversify the national economy and reduce its dependence on oil, sets out a number of objectives, some of which are directly enabled by IP.
Recognizing the strategic importance of IP in enabling the country to fulfil its ambitions, and the central role that IP rights play in stimulating business growth, competitiveness and national economic performance, the Government of Saudi Arabia recently established the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) as the sole competent IP authority in Saudi Arabia.
This important move is fuelling progress in building an innovation culture in Saudi Arabia. Efforts by SAIP and other government authorities to create a more diversified and competitive national economy are boosting IP awareness and fostering business growth.
SAIP aims to regulate, support, develop, nurture, respect, enforce and promote intellectual property in Saudi Arabia in accordance with international best practices.
Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Suwailem, CEO of SAIP, underscored the importance of collaboration between SAIP and the Saudi business sector and SAIP’s commitment to delivering high-quality services that meet the demands of the sector and are aligned to its commercial interests, in order to stimulate the national economy and protect trademarks, industries and patents at the national level. SAIP has held several meetings with various Saudi private sector actors to consult on IP issues and the challenges facing the sector in the relevant fields and explore the prospects for cooperation between the two sides in developing an integrated IP protection regime that supports commercial and economic growth and enhances the Kingdom’s profile and leading role in this vital area.
The meetings discussed the IP field which includes patents, industrial designs, trademarks, copyright and related rights and plant varieties, as well as SAIP’s future direction and timeline, notably the formation of an international advisory board, cooperation with international offices and organizations, ratification of treaties as a matter of priority, and contributing to the establishment of specialized IPR courts.
Extensive discussions are underway between business owners and SAIP officials, focusing on the prospects and areas of cooperation between the two sides and their aspirations for SAIP’s role in protecting trademarks and industrial property, promoting IP awareness and education, and consulting the private sector in its activities.
SAIP identified the target areas as “the technology target areas of Vision 2030, notably environmentally friendly technologies, products that help diagnose and treat chronic diseases, technologies that address pandemics and the spread of infectious diseases, and competing products of economic value in the Kingdom, in addition to technologies related to Hajj and Umrah.”
A number of different forms of IPR infringement have emerged, depending on the nature and type of the rights being targeted. Copyright over artistic and literary works is susceptible to attack and theft through sale, rental, or publication that has not been licensed by the owner of the work. Rights relating to trademarks, industrial designs, and inventions, on the other hand, are susceptible to attack through counterfeiting or piracy.
All such forms of infringement produce economic damages, with serious consequences, and adversely affect IP owners and societies and countries in general. Examples of such damages include:
Defensive protection can be achieved by any of the following means:
Such protection entails the punishment to which the infringing party is liable under law and is structured around two key areas:
In the coming months and years, SAIP will continue to invest in building IP awareness and greater respect for IP rights. Plans are afoot to establish an IP National Committee to coordinate all IP enforcement across government. Chaired by SAIP and comprising representatives from a range of government enforcement agencies, the Committee will ensure broad compliance with IP laws and regulations across the Kingdom.
A number of initiatives are also in the pipeline. These include the appointment and deployment of IP Respect Officers within government agencies. These officers will be at the forefront of efforts to protect and promote IP rights across those agencies. The officers will be trained by SAIP to become the “go-to” person within their respective agencies for all matters relating to IP.
Saudi Arabia recognizes the importance of protecting IP rights to enable innovators, creators and innovative businesses, small and large, to leverage the economic value of their intangible assets. By fostering innovation, creativity and business growth in this way, the broader population will benefit from access to a constant flow of new technologies and creative products as well as the advantages of a thriving economy. The recent evolution of Saudi Arabia’s IP landscape promises to yield significant benefits and is an important step towards achieving the objectives set out in the Saudi Vision 2030.
Lastly, the aforementioned steps that have been taken on the IP front in line with Vision 2030 are the tip of the iceberg. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is already well along the path of progress and prosperity as it continues to reach key milestones, nationwide, in various economic, educational, health, social, transport, communications, industrial, electricity, water and agriculture sectors. Together, these milestones encapsulate the Kingdom’s comprehensive and integrated approach to nation building and development and elevates Saudi Arabia’s position even further amongst the most advanced nations of the world.