Abu-Ghazaleh Legal Wins Eight Patent Cases

20 Dec 2006

RIYADH - Abu-Ghazaleh Legal has successfully won eight patent cases presented before the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Grievances Committee and obtained a favorable ruling in all of them.

The GCC Patent Office issued a decision of refusal of granting patents to the applications involved in the above cases, depending on the fact that the applications were all filed before 2000 as per the previous GCC Patent Regulation of 1992; thus considering that the applications did not meet the conditions stipulated in the new amended GCC Patent Regulation of 2000.

Generally, an invention shall be patentable if it is new or novel, involves an inventive step and industrially applicable. Novelty stipulates that the invention should not be disclosed to the public anywhere by means of written or oral disclosure or by use; accordingly, if a patent application was filed in a country other than the GCC states and was published, it is no longer new.

The previous 1992 GCC Patent Regulation disregarded the novelty requirement and allowed published patents to be filed even after the priority period has expired - which is 12 months as of the first filing in another jurisdiction - and considered such patents as "patents of importation."

According to the 2000 amended GCC Patent Regulation, inventions have to be new in order to be protected by the GCC patent system. In this regard, the GCC Patent Office refused the patents of importation that were filed before 2000 because they lack the novelty requirement. 

"In the appeal against the refusal decision, Abu-Ghazaleh Legal proved that all applications have complied with the prescribed particulars, documents and procedures stipulated in the GCC Patent Regulation and Bylaws," said Samer Pharaon, executive director of Abu-Ghazaleh Legal.

The Grievances Committee, after deliberation, ruled that the GCC Patent Office's refusal decision should be cancelled, in addition to resuming with the examination procedures of the pending patent applications.

"The issued decisions are very important because they set precedents in the history of patent litigation in the GCC states; the rulings are a clear affirmation to our clients that their patent applications can now proceed further for granting," he added. 

"Similarly, the same pattern could apply in Saudi Arabia since the old Saudi patent law allowed for filing patents of importation, but the new 2004 Patent Law is stipulating the novelty requirement as well," Pharaon concluded.

With headquarters in Riyadh, the GCC Patent Office is a regional office for the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, State of Qatar and State of Kuwait. Certificates of Patents granted by the GCC Patent Office secure legal protection of the inventor's rights in all member states.

Abu-Ghazaleh Legal is a global business law firm with over 400 lawyers and professionals and 52 offices in the Middle East, Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. It provides a broad range of business law practices and legal consulting services to clients from around the world.

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