Directorate jumps the gun by accepting design registrations

Saudi Arabia

The General Directorate of Patents has begun accepting applications for the registration of industrial designs, even though the Industrial Designs Law has not yet been published.

The directorate has issued application forms for the registration of designs, which require the following information (in Arabic):

  • the applicant's name and address;

  • the address and first name, father's name, grandfather's name and family name of the designer;

  • documents to explain the applicant's entitlement to file for registration if the applicant is not the designer;

  • details of any priority claim, together with supporting documents and translations;

  • the product type;

  • drawings of the design, including colour drawings if the colours are to be covered by the application; and

  • the date of publication, and documents evidencing this date.

The official filing fee for each application is Sr150 ($40) for individuals, and Sr300 ($80) for corporations.

It is not clear at this stage whether the law will permit the registration of designs that have already been published in Saudi Arabia, or whether it will only protect designs that are published after an application has been filed. The application form requires the disclosure of information relating to the publication or exhibition of (i) drawings of the design, or (ii) samples of the product bearing the design. How this information will affect the success of the design application is still unclear.

At present, industrial designs in Saudi Arabia are protected only by the Copyright Law, and the extent and effectiveness of that protection is the subject of discussion. The new design law is intended to raise Saudi Arabia's protection of industrial design to international standards, in compliance with the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Peter Hansen, Rouse & Co International, Dubai

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