This small but significant country is one of the founding members of the World Trade Organization ("WTO"). As such it is party to TRIPS (The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) which requires WTO members to give effect to the provisions of that agreement. That includes
- complying with arts 1 to 12 and art 19 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property ("Paris Convention") pursuant to art 2 (1) of TRIPS;
- complying with arts 1 to 21 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works ("Berne Convention") pursuant to art 9 (1) of TRIPS;
- protect the work of performers, sound recording studios and broadcasters in accordance with art 14 of TRIPS;
- provide for the registration of trade marks pursuant to arts 15 to 21 of TRIPS;
- protect geographical indications pursuant to arts 22 to 24;
- protect industrial designs pursuant to arts 25 and 26;
- provide patents for inventions in all fields of technology provided they are new, involve and inventive step and are capable of industrial application pursuant to arts in accordance with arts 27 to 34;
- protect semiconductor topographies in accordance with certain provisions of the Treaty on IP in Respect of Integrated Circuits ("the Washington Treaty") pursuant to arts 35 to 38 of TRIPS;
- protect undisclosed information pursuant to art 39; and
- provide civil remedies, criminal sanctions and other provisions for the enforcement of intellectual property rights under Part III of the Agreement.
The Kuwaiti government has entered a number of bilateral investment treaties with a number of countries (though not with HM government) which usually require the protection of intellectual property. Citizens of either party can sometimes claim compensation in ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) against the government of the other party for non-compliance with such a treaty (see Metalclad Corp. v Mexico (30 Aug 2000)).
A summary of Kuwait intellectual property laws and related legislation appears in WIPO lex. The main statutes appear to be:
- Law number 4 of 1962 relating to patents, designs and industrial models as amended by law number 3 of 2001 (Arabic and English);
- Law number 64 of 1999 concerning intellectual property rights (Arabic and English); and
- Decree number 68 of 1980 on trade marks as amended by decree no 10 of 1987 (Arabic only).
Industrial property disputes can be resolved through arbitration pursuant to Law No. 11 of 1995 regarding judicial arbitration with respect to civil and commercial matters (Arabic and English). The Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry appears to provide arbitration services.
Intellectual Property Offices
According to WIPO the competent authority for patents and trade marks is the Trade Marks and Patent Department of the Ministry for Commerce and Industry at PO Box 2944, Safat 13030, Kuwait City, Tel +956 22 42 44 26. That Ministry is also responsible for copyright policy.
The GCC Patent Office is at the GCC Offices, PO Box 340227, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 11333 (see Patents: Gulf Co-operation Council 20 Jan 2011).
Anyone requiring further information about this article should call me on 0800 962 0055 or use my contact form. I have two contacts in Kuwait to whom I shall be glad to refer any enquiries on any substantial issue of Kuwaiti law.