Changes to powers of attorney in Saudi Arabia

11 January 2018

Saudi Arabia has issued a judicial announcement in which it stated that powers of attorney provided to legal advisers and IP representatives will be considered valid for five years only from the date of issuance.



This will be the case for all powers of attorney, unless there is an earlier end date mentioned in the power of attorney or it is revoked in the interim. Rights holders with an interest in Saudi Arabia should take steps to review any existing powers of attorney held by Saudi representatives.

In November 2017 Saudi Arabia issued a judicial announcement in which it stated that powers of attorney provided to legal advisers and IP representatives will be considered valid for five years only from the date of issuance. This will be the case for all powers of attorney, unless there is an earlier end date mentioned in the power of attorney or it is revoked in the interim.

Under Saudi law and practice, in order for a non-Saudi-based company to file a trademark it must appoint a local representative in Saudi Arabia, and that representative must be in possession of a notarised power of attorney, legalised to the Saudi Embassy in the country of notarisation. The representative must hold notarised and legalised power of attorney in order to file any applications or other actions before Saudi IP officials. This is the case even where there is a non-extendable deadline, such as a priority filing date or an opposition.

Rights holders are also reminded that the official calendar in Saudi Arabia is the hijiri calendar. The hijiri year is on average 10-12 days shorter than a Gregorian calendar year. It is therefore recommended to work from the hijiri date when looking at the five-year period for the validity of the power of attorney. There are online hijiri-Gregorian calendar converters which will show the hijiri date on which the power of attorney was issued. By calculating five hijiri years from that date it is possible to find the equivalent date in the Gregorian calendar (which is likely to be 50-60 days sooner than anticipated).

In light of these changes, rights holders with an interest in Saudi Arabia should take steps to review any existing powers of attorney held by Saudi representatives. Where the power of attorney has entered the last year of validity, steps should be taken to provide a new notarised and legalised power of attorney to the representative. This will ensure that a valid power of attorney is in place in case of urgent matters, and will also avoid the representative being left without a valid power of attorney for ongoing matters, which could cause issues with Saudi IP officials or the courts.

This article originally appeared in World Trademark Review in November 2017.


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