The new GCC patent filing system and what to expect

3 minute read
16 August 2021


In January 2021 the GCC Patent Office (GCCPO) announced the suspension of the GCC patent filing system. This decision followed the 41st Gulf Summit held on 5th January 2021 where there was agreement to amend the existing GCC Patent Regulation and suspend the filing of new GCC patent applications.

Five months later, a set of amendments to the GCC Patent Law were published. These amendments indicate that the GCCPO will resume accepting new applications however it will have a more limited role under the new model. The new applications will be accepted according to the following conditions:

  • The GCCPO will receive and handle patent applications, their examination, prosecution and grant, only upon a request received from a GCC member state;
  • The grant of patents will be subject to approval from the requesting member state; and
  • The granted patent will only have effect in the requesting member state.

In summary, the new model for the GCC patent filing system follows an 'outsourcing' arrangement in that member states must elect the GCCPO to handle applications on their behalf. Further, applications are only granted after approval by the requesting member state and only valid in that state. This is very different from the previous model where the GCCPO independently received, examined and granted GCC applications which were valid in all six GCC member states. These changes are expected to come into force once the Implementing Regulations are published. Applications filed before 5th January 2021 are still being prosecuted in the same manner.

For now, applicants seeking patent protection in the GCC member states can still file new applications directly with the Patent Office in each state. All six states are members of the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) so it is possible to claim priority to an earlier application filed within 12 months or enter PCT applications into the national phase in each member state before the 30 month deadline.

For further information on patent protection in the GCC, please contact Tamara El Shibib.

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