Patents in Saudi Arabia are governed by Patents, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Varieties and Industrial Models Law which was issued, as per Royal Decree No. M/27 on July 17, 2004.
The law, which provides full protection for patents, layout designs of integrated circuits, plant varieties and industrial models in Saudi Arabia, was published in the Official Gazette No. 4004, dated August 6, 2004 and entered into force on September 6, 2004.
The Implementing Regulations for the aforementioned law were issued as per an administrative decision on December 26, 2004 and entered into force on the same date.
The Directorate of Patents at King Abdul-Aziz City of Science and Technology is deemed as the "Patent Office" and has the authority to grant patents in the country.
Once an application for the grant of a patent is filed with the Patent Office, it will be examined with respect to the compliance of the applicant with the formalities. If executed satisfactorily, the application receives a filing number and the filing date is secured.
The definition of an invention includes any new article, method of manufacture, or improvement in either of them. Product patents are also protected. Absolute universal novelty is stipulated by the patent law. An invention is new only if it is not anticipated by the prior art, which covers anything disclosed to the public anywhere and at any time, by means of a written or oral disclosure, by use, or in any other way before the relevant filing date or priority date.
A patent application shall relate to a single invention or to a group of integrated parts that form a single invention concept. The applicant, before the issuance of the grant decision, may divide the application into more than one, provided that none of them shall deviate from what was disclosed in the original application. The filing date of the original application and the priority date shall be deemed to be the filing date of the divisional applications.
A patent shall be protected for 20 years from the date of filing the application. A patent is subject to annuity due at the beginning of each year subsequent to the year in which the application was filed and payable within a period of 3 months (January 1st to March 31st). Late payment of annuity fees is allowed within 3 months thereafter in exchange for a double fee.
Naming the inventor is compulsory. The rights to a patent belong solely to the inventor; such rights can be assigned with or without consideration.
The granting of a license does not prevent the patentee from utilizing the patent or from granting a license on the same patent to another person, unless otherwise restricted in the original license agreement. The licensee may not assign the rights and privileges conferred on him, unless his ability to do so is expressly stipulated in the license agreement.
The Patent Office may grant a compulsory license for exploiting the patent to any person upon application filed thereof, provided that the patentee has not exploited or sufficiently exploited the invention covered by the patent within 4 years from the application filing date or 3 years from the grant date unless he justifies that with a legitimate excuse.
Saudi Arabia has become a member of PCT on August 03, 2013 and entering national phase is possible for PCT applications filed on or after August 03, 2013 designated Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Patent Office has started accepting PCT national phase applications as of February 03, 2015.
The official fees of national phase applications are the same fees of regular applications. The documents required at the time of filing are the patent text in English and Arabic in addition to the details of the PCT application.
The legalized inventors Assignments and Power of Attorney must be submitted within (3) three months from the application filing date.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office. It is a regional office for the GCC, 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 Office secure legal protection of the inventor's rights in all member states.