Although the current situation in Iraq is still far from stable, the United Nations Trade Sanctions against Iraq have been lifted and patent work can therefore now resume, at least to some extent. Our Iraqi associate has confirmed that he is now in a position to receive and process work from us, and we would therefore be pleased to assist you in any such matters.

Overdue Patent Annuities

In respect of patents which have been granted in Iraq to date, we have been advised that the Registrar will now accept the payment of all overdue annuities which we have been prevented from paying over the last decade or so. We have been advised that the Registrar has set a deadline of 1 August 2003 for paying these outstanding annuities, but we do not expect that this deadline will be strictly enforced in view of the large number of annuities which now fall due for payment. Nevertheless, we would recommend that you provide us with your urgent instructions in respect of any patent that you wish us to revive by paying the overdue annuities.

Please check your own records, to ensure that all of your cases are accounted for.

Please also note that the term of patents has been increased from 15 years to 20 years, calculated from the filing date. This extension of term has apparently been in effect since 1 September 1999, and we believe that it therefore applies to any patents which had not yet expired on that date. Annuities will be payable for the entire 20 year term of a patent.

Please let us have your instructions for the payment of any due annuities as soon as possible, to ensure that all patent rights are maintained.

Novelty provisions

We have received conflicting advice from several agents regarding the current novelty provisions in Iraq, and it is therefore unclear as to whether novelty of an invention must be local or worldwide. Thus, whilst it has appeared in the past that the revalidation of foreign granted patents has been possible in Iraq, we are not certain that this procedure remains a viable option.

In this regard, we have been advised that the Iraqi Patent Law is in fact currently being revised, and it is therefore possible that the novelty provisions will be amended, probably to require absolute (worldwide) novelty in line with most other jurisdictions around the world. Again, it is not clear whether such a revision to the law will prejudice existing revalidation applications which have been filed in the past in Iraq, but our previous experience in Arab countries suggests that such revalidation applications may well be declared invalid ab initio.

We will keep you apprised of all further developments in this regard.

Boycott Declaration

We have been advised that the Boycott Declaration which, to date, we have been required to submit in respect of patent applications, will no longer need to be filed. However, in view of the current situation in Iraq, we would recommend that this advice be taken with some caution, as it is subject to further confirmation.

Requirements for filing patent applications

The documents required for filing a patent application in Iraq are as follows:

1. Power of Attorney legalized up to the Consulate of Iraq. Please note that the legalization stamp must appear on the back of the Power of Attorney itself, otherwise the Registrar will reject it.

2. Eight copies of the description and claims, in English, along with an Arabic translation. We would be pleased to arrange the translation into Arabic on your behalf, if required.

3. Eight copies of the summary of the invention in English, along with an Arabic translation. Again, we would be pleased to obtain the Arabic translation on your behalf.

4. Eight sets of drawings, if any.

5. An original, certified priority document, and an English translation thereof, if any.

The Registrar may also ask for a legalized copy of the corresponding foreign basic letters patent and/or a novelty search report.

We would be pleased to advise you on the costs involved in filing patent applications in Iraq. Should you require any further information in this regard, please let us know.