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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also known as the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, is a trade bloc which comprises the member states of: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  It is currently a regional IP jurisdiction for the purposes of obtaining patent protection only, although a regional GCC trade mark law has been drafted and is now awaiting approval and then promulgation.  


We have just learnt, with no forewarning, that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Patent Office has suddenly stopped accepting new patent applications as of 6th January 2021. This decision is one of several issued following a GCC Council of Ministers’ meeting on 5th January 2021.


No information is yet available to the public on the amended GCC Patent Law. For now, however, the only option available to patent applicants wishing to obtain protection in the GCC member states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE is by filing a separate Convention or (where possible) a PCT application in each jurisdiction of interest, as it is no longer possible to apply for a unified GCC patent. It appears that existing pending and granted GCC patent cases will allowed to proceed unaffected by this development.

Types of Patent (historically)

Substantive with or without priority claims

Priority (historically)

Convention priority can be claimed

Duration (historically) 20 years from the date of filing the application
Annuities (historically) Annuities are payable on 1st January in each year following the year in which the application is filed and may be paid up until 31st March, without late fine.  A further 3 months (up until 30th June) is available upon payment of a late fine.