Because of the massive and rapidly increasing importance of Asia to the world economy the European Patent Office offers a range of Asian patent information services some of which are chargeable and others of which are free. Among the free services are virtual helpdesks on a number of countries including Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi virtual helpdesk consists of a series of FAQs. Visitors who fail to find a solution to their problems among the FAQs are invited to complete an enquiry form. Those who want more specific answers to an FAQ are invited to email the International Legal Affairs team at the EPO. Before reading the FAQs it is perhaps worth reading my articles: "Patents: Gulf Co-operation Council" 23 Jan 2011 and "Saudi Arabia: Overview of Intellectual Property Law" 22 May 2011. It will be recalled that patents can be granted either for Saudi Arabia alone by the Saudi Patent Office which is in the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology or for all the Gulf Co-operation Council states including Saudi Arabia by the GCC Patent Office. The EPO helpdesk provides information on patents granted by the Saudi Patent Office.
The EPO's FAQs are quire comprehensive. Here are some of the bits of information that I learned from the FAQs:-
"Computer programs as such are not patentable, but may be protected by copyright. Computer-related inventions may be patentable in Saudi Arabia if the requirements for patentability are met."
"All non-residents wishing to apply for a patent require an authorised Saudi Arabian representative. Applicants have to file a power of attorney which has been duly notarised and legalised by the consulate of Saudi Arabia."
"It is not possible at present to file a provisional application in order to get an early filing date in Saudi Arabia."
"It is not possible to submit third-party observations."
"The Saudi Arabian Patent Law does not include any provisions on patent term extensions or supplementary protection certificates (SPCs).
"Within 90 days from publication of the decision to grant, any interested party may apply for partial or total revocation of the patent.The Saudi Patent Office also publishes FAQs on intellectual property, patents, industrial designs, plant varieties and integrated circuits and statistics on patents, designs and plant varieties.
Invalidation is possible for a third party at any time after grant and must be raised before a separate governmental body (Appeals Committee)."
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