Everything you Need to Know to Register Patents in Qatar
Being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Qatar was required to enact new intellectual property legislation. Several laws about the defense and enforcement of intellectual property rights were ultimately issued as a result of this. In 2006 (Law No. 30), the legislation governing the protection of patents was released and put into effect.
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An invention, whether it be a product or a technique, is given exclusive rights by the government for a set period of time, often twenty years, through the use of a patent. When a patent is awarded, the inventor has exclusive rights, which allow them to prevent anybody else from using the innovation for commercial purposes for the duration of the patent. Patent promotes innovation and advancement. The crucial concern, however, is figuring out the boundaries of patentability.
A patent system is probably going to have an impact on growth “indirectly by stimulating the inventive activity that in turn is the source of gains in total factor productivity.” The patent policy might also impact commerce, knowledge transfers, and foreign direct investment inflows, all of which could have an adverse effect on growth. Other components of the public interest must also be safeguarded, like the ability to conduct scientific research without impediments and the affordability of protected goods.
The Qatari Patent Law
A patent may be awarded under Qatari law to any new invention that involves an innovative step and is industrially useful, whether such an invention is associated with new industrial goods, new industrial processes, or a new application of current industrial processes. Any Qatari, whether a natural person or a business company, has the right to file a patent application. This right is also provided to foreigners.
A foreigner is defined as a person, whether a natural person or a legal entity, who belongs to or adopts an actual and effective centre of activity for himself or herself in a WTO member or entity, or who applies reciprocity with Qatar, even if this country is not a member of the WTO.
In Qatari patent law, a patent grants its owner the right to exploit the protected innovation by manufacturing, utilizing, offering for sale, selling, or importing the essentials of legitimate exploitation.
No one may use the patented invention without the owner’s written consent. Qatari law permits any interested party to seek a compulsory license for the commercialization of an innovation three years after the date the patent was granted for any of the following reasons:
- During the three years since the patent was granted, there has been no meaningful or effective exploitation of the patent.
- The patent holder has stopped using the protected invention for two years in a row without providing the Patent Office with any justification.
- The patent holder has refused to offer contractual licensing for the invention’s commercialization, preventing the formation or expansion of industrial and commercial activities in Qatar.
When creating the Patent Law, Qatari legislators carefully devised a set of safeguards to protect the public interest. It is suggested that these actions are typically compliant with the TRIPs Agreement. They are based on the terms of TRIPs Agreement Articles 7 (Objectives) and 8 (Principles).
The following points give an analytical assessment of Qatari patent law laws with the goal of protecting the public interest.
a. Disqualifications from Patentability
Certain areas are prohibited from receiving a patent under Qatari law, including scientific theories, mathematical procedures, and computer programs. In addition, everything biological that produces plants or animals, apart from microbiological activities and their by products should be barred from patentability. Additionally, human or animal diagnostic techniques and methods of surgical or therapeutic treatment are not subject to patentability.
b. Protection Period
According to Qatari law, a patent is protected for twenty years starting on the day it was granted. When the commercialization of a product is delayed owing to protracted regulatory processes, the period of protection for that product (such as pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals) may be prolonged in various countries, including the United States and the majority of countries in Europe.
However, there are a few restrictions on this kind of extension in the United States. Even though the TRIPs Agreement’s extension clause was discussed during the negotiation process, neither this agreement nor Qatari legislation contains any provisions addressing this crucial matter.
Regarding Qatar, its position is admirable. By excluding such broad protection, the law considers the protection of the public interest. The TRIPs clauses, which do not include responsibilities for extended protection, as was already established, are fully compliant with Qatari legislation.
c. System of Resistance
The law appears to be effective since it has implemented an “opposition system,” which allows any interested party to send a written notice of appeal against the patent grant to the Patent Office within a set period of time. A concerned party must give a justification for his appeal. A concerned party can object to the patent application because the invention is not original or because its commercialization will likely violate morality, public order, or Islamic Sharia Law.
d. Patent Cancellation
A further merit of the law is that it grants any interested party the ability to ask for the cancellation of a patent if it is issued in violation of the conditions outlined in the terms of the Patent Act or its executive regulations. Hence, it would be permissible to ask for the cancellation of a patent if the innovation covered by it refers to scientific ideas or diagnostic, therapeutic, or surgical treatments for both humans and animals.
e. Mandatory Licensing
As with the TRIPs Agreement, Qatari legislation addresses the problem of mandatory licenses. It is commonly acknowledged that the use of compulsory licensing in some of these situations is an effective instrument for supplying necessary products, particularly pharmaceutical medications, at reasonable rates. Additionally, the expected application of these licenses would unquestionably serve additional Qatari public objectives.
These interests are reflected by the following facts: i) the potential use of such licenses could be an incentive (and at the same time an obligation) for any foreign intellectual property right-holder to work their patents in Qatar; and ii) the use of such licenses could prevent the intellectual property right-holders, in particular foreigners, from using their rights in a manner that might restrict trade or adversely affect the transfer of technology.
f. License Contracts
According to the legislation, it is acceptable for the patentee to grant a license to a local third party, whether local or international. The likelihood of having access to cutting-edge technology in all disciplines should improve under such a system, “while increasing the pool of local capabilities capable of eroding monopoly rents.” Additionally, patent holders who lack the skills required to utilize the innovation (i.e., work it) but still want to reap the revenues and benefits of their monopoly on the invention may be interested in this approach. It is important to keep in mind that license agreements “provide the only method of avoiding oligopolistic prices and practices” in a number of certain industries, particularly information technologies.
Qatari Patent Registration Requirements
There are two procedures to register a patent in Qatar: National and PCT. The two approaches’ prerequisites are listed below.
- A power of attorney that has been properly legalized up to the Qatari Consulate or, in the absence of a Qatari Consulate, any Arab Consulate.
- With the application must include a copy of the PCT international publication search and examination reports.
- A legalized deed of assignment, a copy of the applicant company's certificate of incorporation, or an extract of the applicant's entry in the commercial register will be required to satisfy the filing requirement of the national application in Qatar if an assignment recordal has been recorded with the WIPO system after the publication of the international Patent application.
- Within six months (non-extendable) days following the patent application's filing date, these documents and the POA may be filed. To complete the filing requirement A copy of form 306 as filed at the International Bureau should be submitted if a name or address change record has been made with the WIPO system after the publication of the international patent application; otherwise, the national phase entry application must be submitted under the previous name or address that was initially published in WIPO.
- In the absence of a Qatari consulate, a power of attorney that has been properly legalized up to any Arab consulate
- A copy of the applicant company's certificate of incorporation or an extract from the applicant's entry in the commercial register will suffice.
- The entire English specifications and claims in three copies, along with the Arabic translation
- Three versions of the invention's patent's English and Arabic abstract
- One set of the invention's drawings, if any are included.
- a 200-word maximum summary of the innovation, together with the best possible illustration for explanation
- If the applicant is not the inventor, a contract of assignment signed by the inventor that has been properly authorized up to a Qatari consulate abroad, or an Arab consulate if there is no Qatari consulate, must be submitted.
- If a priority claim is to be filed with the application, a certified copy of the application with the filing date, number, and country must be provided within three months of the application's filing date.
Patent Registration Process in Brief
- After the application is submitted, the application in on hold for six months while all necessary paperwork and data are gathered.
- The applicant has the choice of paying the technical examination fees either at the time of filing along with the filing fees or within six months of filing.
- The application will be formally examined six months after the filing date to see if all the necessary paperwork was provided and if any associated filing, annuity, and technical examination fees were paid. The application will then be put on hold once again until it is time for its technical and legal review.
- After performing a technical and legal review of the application, the Examiner will render a determination that will either: Ask the applicant to amend or complete the application: the applicant has 90 days to respond to continue the process of examination from the date of first official notice from the examiner. Reject the application: If the prerequisites weren’t met or the patent cannot be registered. After receiving official notification, the applicant has 15 days to file an appeal with the Appeal Committee.
- Accept the application: To have the application published in the official gazette, the applicant must pay the publication fees. When the aforementioned application is published, the patent office will notify the applicant.
- Within 60 days of the date of publication, any interested third party may object to the aforementioned application. Within 30 days of the objection’s filing, the Patent Office must review it and make a determination; otherwise, the opposition would be taken to have been implicitly rejected.
- The registration fees must be paid in order to issue the relevant certificate of registration once the application successfully completes the publication period.
- A patent has a 20-year protection period starting on the filing date of the national patent application based on the Paris Convention or the PCT application.
Mode of Application
The application for Patent registration can be done both online and offline. The authority authorised to provide patent registration is the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
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