Once an application for the grant of a patent is filed, it is examined with respect to compliance with the formalities and patentability provided for under the patent law in Egypt. The Patent Office may require whatever amendments may be necessary to bring the application into conformity with the law.
The provisions of the patent law stipulate that an application should be filed before the invention has become known prior to the filing date or the priority date through publication or use worldwide. The Patent Office currently receives many published patents worldwide and stipulates absolute novelty when examining the patent.
Patent applications are examined closely as to the contents and novelty of the invention. Once the application is accepted, it is automatically published in the Official Gazette. Any interested party may oppose the grant of a patent within 2 months as of the date of publication. The opposition notice is submitted to the competent committee. Should no opposition against the grant of a patent be filed, or should the committee reject an opposition, the charges of preparing copies for circulation purposes, which is the final step before grant, must be paid to the Patent Office.
It takes an average of 3 years from the filing date of the patent application to mature into a granted patent. Annuities are to be paid every year as of the filing date of the application even before the patent is granted. However, according to the current patent law, there is a one-year grace period from the due date with a late fine to settle payment of the annuity.
An applicant is entitled to appeal the requirements and conditions of the Patent Office by means of submitting a petition to the competent committee within 30 days as of the receipt of the notice, served to him by the Patent Office. Approved applications are published in the Official Gazette and are rendered open for public inspection.
A patent is valid for 20 years starting from the date of filing the application. Annuities should be paid until the expiry of the patent protection period.
The rights to a patent may be assigned or transferred through succession. The assignment of patent applications and granted patents must be made in writing. An assignment shall have no effect against third parties, unless it has been published in the Official Gazette and duly entered in the relevant records of the Patent Office.
Working of patents is compulsory in Egypt. In the event that the owner of a patented invention does not satisfy the stipulated working requirements within 3 years as of the date of the grant, or within 4 years from the filing date, which of the two periods is longer, or if working ceases for one year without an acceptable reason, then the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law. If within 2 years as of the grant of the compulsory license, the licensee does not exploit the patented invention, any interested party may apply to the Patent Office demanding the cancellation of the subject patent for non-working.
The rights conferred by a patent on the registered patentee lapse with the end of the protection period as prescribed by the laws, abandoning of patent rights, final court decision to this effect, non-payment of a due annuity within one year after the respective due date or failing to respond to an official action.
Infringement of the rights of a patentee is punishable under the provisions of the current patent law.