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On 3 May 2013, Saudi Arabia deposited its instrument of accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to become the 147th contracting state. The treaty entered in to force on 3 August 2013. The result is that all new PCT applications filed on or after 3 August 2013 now automatically designate Saudi Arabia.
The accession means that Saudi Arabia joins the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE as a member of the PCT (Kuwait being the only GCC state which has not yet joined the PCT).
Saudi Arabia’s accession also means that nationals and residents of Saudi Arabia are now entitled to file international applications under the PCT.
One advantage of seeking patent protection in Saudi Arabia via the PCT route is that it allows some of the costs associated with the application process to be deferred. This can be particularly advantageous given that pursuing an application in Saudi Arabia is typically a relatively expensive process. It is expected that the option of deferring costs will lead to an increase in the number of patent applications filed in Saudi Arabia.
In addition to accession, the Saudi Patent Office has reviewed and updated a number of its internal processes. The changes include the introduction of an electronic filing system, the aim of which is to make the patent process in Saudi Arabia more efficient.
If you would like any further information or would like to discuss PCT applications with regard to Saudi Arabia, or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact us.