The regional real estate, construction and hospitality sectors have been turned upside down over the last two years, with Covid-19 bringing these sectors to a halt. The impact of the pandemic remains, however, the resurrection of these vital sectors across the region is a welcome relief because they support the development of modern cities, which in turn have attracted commerce and tourism to the Middle East and North Africa.
This latest edition of Law Update, provides vital insights, updates and commentary on the latest trends taking shape across the real estate, construction, hotels and leisure sectors. The articles within this edition cover a broad range of topics, from what’s next for real estate in Dubai, to commentary on Saudi real estate, a market that is set to become the main bedrock of the region for years ahead. You will find articles on reforming real estate laws in Qatar, foreign investment and ownership in Oman, and mitigating risks on hotel construction projects and the lessons learnt from Covid.Read the full report
Following the 41st GCC Supreme Council meeting, held on 5 January 2021, a decision was made by the GCC Council of Ministers to amend the existing GCC Patent Law and to require the GCC Patent Office to cease receiving new filings for GCC patent applications as of 6 January 2021. The decision was announced through a statement made on the GCCPO website. The full announcement can be found here.
The GCC Patent Office is a regional GCC body which was established by the GCC Council in 1992 providing a unified patent registration system for the GCC region.
According to the communication, the GCCPO will continue to prosecute and grant patent applications filed prior to 6 January 2021, and it will continue to maintain any pending and granted applications. As patent applicant, you are not required to do any action for the time being with respect to previously filed patent applications.
Applicants currently seeking patent protection in any of the six GCC member states are now required to file their patent applications directly to the respective GCC state’s Patent Offices. Each GCC country – UAE, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait – has its own national patent office.
All the GCC member states are member countries of the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), so applications can be made through these routes. A national patent application under the Paris Convention in any one of the GCC countries of interest will need to be filed before the expiration of 12 months from the convention priority date. A national phase application in any one of the GCC countries under the PCT Convention will need to be filed before the expiration of 30 months of the priority date.
Some challenges are expected to occur in Kuwait as the local patent regulations are yet to be issued. Applicants can file their patent applications for the time being in front of the KW Patent Office to preserve their rights, however without further prosecution or grant of the patent applications.
There has not been much information communicated so far beside the above, and we do expect further communications to be issued within the upcoming 2-3 weeks. The new amended GCC Patent Law may come with further amendments.
We do expect further amendments towards a harmonized unified GCC Patent Law for the various GCC countries, walking away however from a unified filing system and leaving the role of patent registration to the individual countries. This will be similar to the GCC trade mark protection regime.
Our patent team will continue to monitor the situation and will send further client alerts in due course.
We would be delighted to help you in restructuring your patent filing strategy in the GCC region in view of the latest law amendments at the regional GCC level and at the individual GCC states level, as well as in view of the major other recent socio-economic changes in the region.
Click here to download our Patents & Designs brochure.