Kuwait has joined the Patent Cooperation Treaty

By: Francesca Giovannini


Kuwait has joined the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) by depositing its Instrument of Accession to the PCT on 9 June 2016, thus becoming the 149th Contracting State of the PCT. Since the PCT will officially come into effect in Kuwait on 9 September 2016, a first consequence is that any PCT application filed on or after 9 September 2016 will automatically include the designation of Kuwait.

Furthermore, Kuwait will be bound by the optional Chapter II of the PCT. Thus, Kuwait will automatically be elected in any demand for International Preliminary Examination submitted in respect of a PCT application filed on or after 9 September 2016. Also, nationals and residents of Kuwait will be entitled, as of 9 September 2016, to file PCT applications.

Kuwait is one of the six member countries part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional organization which also includes The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, The Sultanate of Oman, and Bahrain. The GCC offers a unified patent granting system which provides patent protection in all six member states. Since the GCC is not a member of the PCT, it is not possible to designate the GCC in PCT applications or to apply for the grant of a GCC patent in a PCT application. However, with Kuwait’s accession to the PCT, all the GCC member states are now members of the PCT. Therefore, patent protection will be soon available in each of these countries via the PCT. Moreover, the combination of a PCT application and a GCC application whenever protection in the six Gulf States is sought will no longer be necessary.

Before the accession of Kuwait to the PCT, applicants were required to file their applications with the GCC Patent Office to get protection in Kuwait. Indeed, in view of Law No.115 of 2016, published on 3 April 2016 by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Trade and Industry, which contains the regulations for implementing the Patent Law of the GCC States, the Kuwaiti Patent Office has stopped accepting national patent applications.

Also, since the accession of Kuwait to the Paris Convention in 2014, all the individual GCC countries are also members of the Paris Convention, so that it is possible to claim priority under the Paris Convention to an application that was first filed at any Office of the six countries part of the GCC. On the other hand, the GCC is not part of the Paris Convention, so that it is not possible to claim priority under the Paris Convention to an application that was first filed at the GCC regional Patent Office.