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The GCCPO: A Valuable Gateway to Patenting in the Middle East


Published on 6 June 2017

Founded in 1981, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional organization comprising: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. The GCC is a significant regional player, with the six economies collectively accounting for roughly a quarter of the world's crude oil production in 20131. Further, the collective GDP of the six economies is estimated to exceed a whopping $1.5 trillion in 2017.

The Gulf Cooperation Council Patent Office

The GCC Patent Office (GCCPO) is an Intellectual Property Office that was established in 1992 under the auspices of the GCC and became operational in 1998. The GCCPO is located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and serves not only to grant patents but also to: encourage research; stimulate economic growth, trade, and industry; facilitate technology transfer; and attract foreign investment. It has received more than 33,000 applications between 1998 and 2017.

The GCCPO offers a centralized system for obtaining a patent in all the six member states. Unlike some other regional patent organizations, there is no requirement of designating member states of interest (either at the time of filing or at the time of grant) or validating a granted patent in the member states of interest. Further, despite the GCCPO not being a signatory of either the Paris Convention or the Patent Cooperation Treaty, an applicant may claim priority to an earlier filed application as if the GCCPO was a member state of the Paris Convention.

The Costs of Patenting in the GCCPO

Let us now study the costs involved in obtaining and maintaining a patent through to expiry with the GCCPO. Typically, there are three categories of costs involved: official fees, attorney charges, and translation costs.

A fairly straightforward fee structure has been adopted by the GCCPO; there are no official fees for excess claims or excess pages at the time of filing. Likewise, there are no official fees for requesting the examination of excess independent claims or for the publication of excess pages at the time of grant.

The total estimated costs that might be incurred by a company over the lifecycle of a 40-page patent (including five pages of drawings), claiming priority to an earlier application filed in English, amount to $46,738 (Table 1). The costs are exclusive of in-house costs (where applicable).

The official fees to be paid at the time of filing an application are approximately $1,067, while those to be paid for requesting an examination and during the grant phase are $2,000 and $1,333 respectively.

The estimated prosecution costs are inclusive of the attorney charges for reporting office actions, preparing responses, and processing responses, in addition to translation costs.

Translation costs would be incurred both at the time of filing an application and during prosecution. The estimated costs to translate an application at the time of filing amount to $1,225 (~30% of the total filing costs). Likewise, the estimated translation costs during prosecution amount to $875 (~20% of the total prosecution costs), based on 2.5 office actions and 10 translation pages per prosecution action.

Estimation of GCC Patent Costs

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Venkatesh Viswanath (Senior Analyst, Quantify IP) contributed to this article.
Exchange Rate Used: 1 U.S. Dollar = 3.75 Riyals;
Number of pages for translation = 35 (excluding drawings)
http://www.bq-magazine.com/energy/2015/02/oil-and-gas-reserves-in-the-gcc;
https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/17/05/2017/GCC-s-combined-GDP-may-exceed-$1.5-trillion;
http://www.gccpo.org/AboutUsEn/AboutUs.aspx;
http://www.gccpo.org/DefaultEn.aspx; and
http://www.tamimi.com/en/magazine/law-update/section-5/april-5/international-patent-filing-systems-pct-gcc-patents.html

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