Patent Law in
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
THE PATENTS LAW
ISSUED BY THE GRACIOUS ROYAL DECREE
No. M/38 Dated 10/6/1409
A ROYAL DECREE
Date: 10/6/1409 AH
With the help of Almighty Allah
WE, FAHD BIN ABDUL-AZIZ AL SAUD - King of Saudi Arabia,
Having perused Articles No. 19 and 20 of the Bye-Laws of the Council of Ministers issued
under the Royal Decree No. (38) dated 22/01/1377 AH
Having perused the Council of Ministers Decision No. 56 dated 19/4/1409 AH.
We hereby decree:
1. The Patent Law in the form of the attached draft is hereby approved.
2. The Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers shall have to execute our decree as concerned.
Decision No. 56 dated 19/4/1409 AH.
The Council of Ministers,
Having perused the attached draft referred by the Council of Ministers under No. 7/16178/R
dated 23/10/1406 AH which included letter No. 21434/M/10 dated 24/9/1406 AH from His
Excellency President of King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology pertaining to the
proposed law on patents.
Having perused the memorandum of Experts No. 67 dated 27/5/1408 AH and its minutes No. 68
dated 27/4/11408 AH.
Having perused the recommendation of the General Committee of Council of Ministers No. 13
dated 18/11/1409 AH.
Having perused the memorandum of Experts No. 50 dated 13/3/1409 AH, and
Having perused the two recommendation of General Committee of the Council of Ministers No.
26 dated 6/4/1409 AH and No. 30 dated 14/4/1409 AH,
It is hereby decided
To approve the Patents Law in the form of the attached draft. A Royal Draft Decree is
already ordained, the contents of which is enclosed herewith.
This law shall be cited as Patents Law and provide for adequate protection of inventions
in Saudi Arabia.
In this Law, unless the context otherwise requires, the following terms shall have the
meanings attributed to each:
a) "City" King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology.
b) "Patents Directorate" The Directorate within King Abdul-Aziz City for Science
and Technology which shall perform the functions assigned thereto under this Law.
c) "Patent" The document granted to the inventor enabling his invention to enjoy
protection within Saudi Arabia.
d) "Gazette" A gazette published by King Abdul Aziz City for Science and
Technology concerning Patents pursuant to this Law and its Regulations.
e) "Committee" The Committee provided for in Article 48 hereof.
The City shall have competence over granting patents and ensuring the protection thereof
in accordance with the provisions of this Law and its Regulations.
An invention shall be patentable in accordance with the provisions of this Law if it is
novel, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable as a means of offering a
practical solution for a defined technological problem.
An invention shall be any new product or method of manufacture or improvement in either of
An invention shall be novel if it is not anticipated by the prior art, prior art being
anything disclosed to the public anywhere and at any time by means of a written or oral
disclosure, by use or in any other way before the relevant date of filing of the patent
application or the priority date validity claimed in respect thereof.
A disclosure of an invention to the public shall not be considered part of the prior art
if the applicant proves that disclosure was made, during the year preceding the filing
date of the application by himself or by a predecessor, or as a result of malicious acts
made against either of them.
But if such disclosure has been made because the inventor or his predecessor has exhibited
it in an officially recognized international exhibition, then for the purposes of this
provision, such disclosure should have been made no earlier than six months before the
filing date of the patent application.
An invention shall be considered as involving an inventive step if, in the light of the
related prior art, it is not obvious to a person with ordinary skill in the art.
An invention shall be considered as industrially applicable if it can be manufactured or
used in any kind of industry or agriculture including crafts, fishing or services.
For the purposes of this Law, the following shall not be regarded as inventions:
a) Discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods.
b) Principles, rules and techniques of doing business; pure mental activities or playing
c) Varieties of plants or animals or biological processes used to produce plants or
animals with the exception of micro biological processes and products thereof.
d) Methods of surgical or medical treatment of the human body or of animals, and methods
of diagnosis applied to the human body or to animals with the exception of products used
in any of these processes.
A patent shall not be granted if the invention itself or its use is contrary to the
Islamic Sharia. Any patent granted to the contrary shall be abrogated. Save those patents
which are contrary to Islamic Sharia, the granting of a patent to an interested party
shall not be withheld according to this Law. Further, no patent already granted shall be
revoked on the grounds that the application of the invention is prohibited under the
The President of King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology may direct that, due to
considerations relating to the public interest, the granting of patents related to certain
products or processes of manufacturing such products be postponed for ten years. This
period shall be renewable for further periods each of which does not exceed five years.
The decision to postpone shall take effect 30 days after its publication.
The rights in a patent shall be the personal property of the inventor, and such rights
shall be transferable with or without consideration. If several persons have jointly made
an invention, the right to a patent shall equally belong to them unless otherwise is
mutually agreed upon.
A person who has merely assisted in the implementation of an invention without having
contributed any inventive activity shall not be deemed an inventor or co-inventor.
The inventor shall be entitled to have his name in this capacity mentioned in the patent.
Any agreement stipulating for the contrary shall be deemed null and void.
The ownership of a patent shall belong to an employer if the invention is made in
execution of a contract or a commitment for exertion of inventive faculty or if the
employer proves that the inventor would not have achieved such invention had he not used
the facilities, means or information made available through his employment.
The provision of the preceding paragraph shall not prejudice the employee's right to
receive special remuneration to be agreed upon amicably or to be assessed by the Committee
in the light of the various circumstances of the employment contract and the economic
significance of the invention. Any special agreement which deprives and an employee from
such rights shall be invalid. The preceding provisions shall also be applicable to
employees of government departments.
A patent application made by the employee-inventor within the two years following the
termination of his services shall be regarded as having been made during his employment.
Where the essential elements of an invention claimed in the application or patent have
been obtained from the invention of a person other than the applicant of the patentee,
such person shall have the right to apply to the Committee to have such patent application
or patent transferred to himself. The right to apply for transfer shall be forfeited after
the elapse of five years from the date of grant.
An application for a patent shall be submitted to the Directorate of Patents on the form
designed for such purpose. The application shall include the following data:
1. Name, surname and address of the applicant. If the application is submitted in a name
other than the inventor's name, the name of the inventor and a document evidencing the
devolution to the applicant of the right to a patent should be submitted.
In such a case, the Directorate of Patents may provide the inventor with a copy of such
2. The name, surname and address of a registered agent of the applicant in the Kingdom if
the applicant is residing abroad.
3. The title of the invention and full and clear description thereof, so that a person
skilled in the art may be able to carry out the same, and the best mode contemplated by
the applicant for carrying out the invention.
4. The scope of the required protection by defining the new features embodied by the
claims. The explanatory drawings (if any) of the invention shall be enclosed with the
application as well as an abstract in Arabic (and English if possible). These abstracts
will be used for technical information and are irrelevant in determining the scope of
The applicant shall comply with all the requirements of the Directorate in relation to the
The Directorate of Patents shall examine whether the application has complied with the
prescribed particulars, documents and procedures. If yes, the applicant shall be invited
to pay the prescribed fee. The application shall not be registered unless the prescribed
fee is paid.
An application for a patent shall relate to one invention or to aspects which are so
related as to constitute one inventive concept.
The applicant may make any amendments he deems fit to the application provided that as a
result of the amendments, no substantial change is made to the contents of the original
The City shall accord the applicant the benefit of the priority of an earlier application
made in another country provided that such applicant attaches to his application a written
declaration indicating the date and number of the earlier application and the country in
which he or his predecessor filed this application. He shall be required to produce a copy
of the earlier application duly certified by the competent authority in the country in
which it was issued within ninety days from the date of filing the application in the
The City shall evaluate the claim of priority rights in the light of international
treaties to which the Kingdom is a party.
The Directorate of Patents shall examine the filed applications as to formalities. Where
it is found that certain prescribed conditions are not fulfilled, it shall invite the
applicant to take the required action to complete the application within a period not
exceeding ninety days from the date of notification. If he fails to do so within the said
period, his application shall be deemed not to have been filed. Upon fulfillment of the
formal examination conditions, the application shall be referred to the competent
authority for substantial examination pursuant to the regulations.
The applicant may at any time withdraw his application unless a final decision has been
made. Withdrawal shall not entail the right to a refund of fees or expenses already paid
in respect of the application.
If it is found, upon substantive examination, that the invention complies with the
prescribed conditions, the City shall issue a decision for the grant of the patent and the
decision shall be published by the City in the order of its issuance. Where it is found
through substantive examination that the applicant is not entitled to the grant of patent,
the Directorate of Patents shall prepare a memorandum containing the reasons for rejection
and a copy thereof shall be sent to the applicant.
The patentee shall have the right to sue, before the Committee, any person who exploits
his invention without his consent inside the Kingdom. The exploitation of a product shall
be embodied in the making, importing, offering-for-sale, or using the product as well as
stocking such product for the purposes of offering it for sale, selling it or using it.
Where the patent is granted in respect of a process, the patentee shall be entitled to the
same right in respect of any products made directly by such a process.
If a person in good faith manufactures a product or uses the process of manufacturing a
specific product or takes the necessary steps therefore before the date of granting a
patent for such product or such process to another person, then the former shall be
entitled - despite the issuance of the patent - to the right to continue the performance
of these acts. The assignment or transfer of the said right to a third party can only be
made in conjunction with all the assets of the business.
The rights under a patent shall be confined to acts undertaken in respect of industrial or
commercial purposes and they shall not extent in particular to acts performed for
The patentee shall exploit the invention covered by the patent on a full industrial scale
in the Kingdom within two years from date of grant. The City may upon the request of the
patentee extend this period for a further period not exceeding two years, if it believes
that the request is based upon reasonable grounds. If the prescribed period expires
without the patent being fully exploited, then the provisions of Article 34 hereof shall
Where the patent is disposed of to another party by any means or the right of exploitation
of the same is transferred to another party for any reason, the patentee shall advise the
assignee or the transferee of any legal action in connection with the patent being taken
by the patentee himself or by a third party against him.
The term of a patent shall be fifteen years from the date of grant. The City shall, upon
the request of patentee, extend the term for further five years, provided that the request
is submitted during the final year of the original term and within sixty days before the
end of the said year. The decision of extension or rejection shall contain the reasons and
shall be communicated to the patentee within sixty days from date of request. If the
inventor obtains a foreign patent, the period of protection to be enjoyed in the Kingdom
shall be as if the patent had been granted in the Kingdom from the beginning.
The patent shall be subject to the payment of an annual fee according to the table
attached hereto, to be paid at the beginning of each year from the year starting from the
year following publication of the patent grant. If the patentee fails to pay the fee
within ninety days from the beginning of the year, the fee shall be doubled. If he fails
to pay the fee, after being served notice, within ninety days subsequent to the first
period of ninety days, the right of disposal of the patent shall devolve upon the City.
Any action resulting in the assignment of the patent application or the patent itself
shall be made in writing and signed by the two parties and authenticated by an official
authority. A change of title of either the patent application or the patent itself shall
not be recognized by the City unless the prescribed fee is paid and the change is recorded
in its registers. The City shall publish the transfer of title in the Gazette.
Subject to the provisions of Article 29, if several persons jointly apply for or own a
patent, any of them may assign his share in such application or patent to any of those
partners or to all of them or to a third party.
The patentee whose patent enjoys the protection provided for herein may license others to
perform all acts of exploitation referred to in Article 22 hereof or a part of them. Such
license must be made in writing and signed by both parties and authenticated by an
official authority. The licensing contract shall not be recognized by the City unless the
prescribed fee is paid and registered in its records.
The granting of a license may not preclude the patentee from exploiting the patent or from
granting another license on the same patent unless otherwise stated in the original
In the absence of any provision to the contrary in the licensing contract, the license may
assume all acts and privileges available to the Patentee throughout Saudi Arabia in
relation to the invention and to any means of applying it during the term of the patent.
The license may not assign the rights and privileges conferred on him by the patentee
unless such right is expressly provided for in the licensing contract.
If the period set forth in Article 25 expires without full exploitation of the invention
by the patentee within Saudi Arabia, the City shall be entitled to grant any person a
compulsory license to exploit the patent, upon an application submitted to it, provided
that the applicant proves his capability to exploit the patent fully. The consent of the
patentee to the grant of such license may not be required.
If the exploitation of an invention has a major significance in industry and requires the
use of another invention, the City may grant either patentee a compulsory license to
exploit the other invention unless they mutually agree on exploitation in an amicable
manner. The City shall determine the period and the remuneration of the exploitation
together with all other conditions.
The compulsory licensee shall fully exploit the invention industrially in the Kingdom
during the period provided for in the licensing decision as well as pay all the sums of
money which are determined by the said decision.
The beneficiary of the compulsory license may not transfer the license to a third party
save in the event of total or partial assignment of the business in which the license is
being exploited. Such transfer shall be deemed invalid unless it is approved by the City.
If the City approves the transfer procedures, the assignee shall become liable for the
obligations required from the first beneficiary.
The City shall amend the decision for the grant of a compulsory license, if it finds that
there are particularly circumstances justifying it. The Patentee or the beneficiary of the
compulsory license may request the City to make such an amendment if sufficient grounds
exist. The City's decision either for the amendment of the license or for the rejection of
the request shall contain the reasons thereof.
The City shall cancel the compulsory license in the following circumstances:
a) If the beneficiary of the license fails to fully exploit it industrially in the Kingdom
within two years from the date of granting the license. This period shall be renewable for
another equal period if he establishes that his failure was due to a legitimate reason.
b) If the beneficiary of this compulsory license fails to pay the amounts of money payable
by him within ninety days from its due date.
c) If the beneficiary of the compulsory license fails to comply with any other conditions
of the license.
The beneficiary of the compulsory license shall surrender the license upon a written
request to the City provided that the surrender takes effect from the date of the City's
Decisions, amendments, withdrawal, transfer and surrender of the compulsory license shall
be entered in the City's records, published in the Gazette and communicated to the
The President of the City, upon the request of a competent authority, shall decide to have
the invention exploited by a government authority in the Kingdom, if the public interest
requires it, provided that the patentee is compensated by a fair remuneration to be
specified in the decision. The decision of exploitation must be entered in the City's
records, published in the Gazette and communicated to the patentee, assignee, transferee
or others who have the right to exploit it.
The patentee shall surrender the patent upon a written request to the City. The surrender
shall be limited to one or more of the claims. Surrender may not be accepted where there
is a compulsory license unless a written consent of the beneficiary is secured or
circumstances of force majeure prevail which justify abandonment. The surrender shall be
registered and published in the Bulletin. The surrender shall not take effect with regard
to third parties until the date of its publication.
Any interested party may appeal the decision to grant a patent before the Committee within
ninety days from the date of publication, and demand total or partial revocation on
grounds of its non-compliance with the conditions of grant. The patentee shall involve the
assignee or transferee in the action, or alternatively the latter may appear in their own
right, or the Committee may order hid conjoining in the action.
The judgment for total or partial revocation of the decision to grant a patent has the
effect of regarding the said decision as if it has not been issued with regard to matters
invalidated by the judgment. The judgment shall not entail a refund of fees paid for a
license unless the licensee proves that the remuneration derived from the license is less
than what was paid for it and in this case he would be entitled to recover the difference.
A judgment revoking a patent shall be published promptly and shall not take effect in
relation to third parties until its date of publication.
The manufacturer shall mark the number and date of patent on the products covered by the
patent within the Kingdom; otherwise he shall not be entitled to relief for infringement.
However, he may claim relief if he proves that he gave notice to the infringer of the
existence of the patent; in these circumstance the infringer shall be restrained from
further infringement and the relief shall be limited to the period following the said
Any act of exploitation, as defined in Article 22 carried out by any person in the Kingdom
without a written consent of the patentee registered at the City shall be deemed
infringement. Upon the request of the patentee and any interested party the Committee
shall grant an injunction and appropriate compensation. Upon the request of the City, the
Committee may also impose a penalty not exceeding fifty thousand Riyals on the infringer.
The maximum fine shall be doubled in the case of repeated infringement. The Committee may
take any prompt measure it deems fit to obviate the damage caused by infringement.
The Committee's decision in these circumstances shall be published in two daily newspapers
at the expense of the losing party in the action. The provision of this article shall not
preclude harsher penalties provided for under any other law.
A Committee shall be formed comprising three lawyers and two technical persons whose ranks
may not be less than grade twelve.
The members shall be nominated by the President of the City. A decision establishing the
Committee shall be issued by the Council of Ministers. The term of the Committee shall be
for a period of three years, renewable once only. One of the law graduates shall be
nominated in the decision as Chairman of the Committee.
The Committee's function is to hear all disputes and appeals against decisions relating to
patents. It shall also handle the penal actions which arise due to non-compliance with the
provisions of the Law and Regulations.
Notices of legal actions before the Committee shall be served on the parties by registered
mail or by any other means which secures the delivery thereof. The notice shall include
the name, surname and address of both the plaintiff and the defendant, the statement and
grounds of claim with appropriate supporting documents and the time and the scheduled
hearing. the Regulations shall determine the notification procedures.
The parties shall be entitled to appear before the Committee either in person or
represented by agents. The Committee may summon either interested party to appear in
person to discuss specified matters.
The Committee may contact any relevant government agency to request any relevant
information. The City shall furnish the Committee with all documents and papers related to
the patent application or patent in question whenever requested by the Committee.
The Committee may seek assistance from any expert witnesses whenever it deems it essential
in relation to technical matters. The Committee shall determine the party who shall bear
the costs of the expert witnesses.
The Committee shall offer the parties the opportunity to be heard and to provide their
defense. After the commencement of the hearing, the Committee shall not accept any further
evidence or new lines of defense.
The Committee shall, by a majority, issue its decisions which shall be substantiated and
shall be pronounced at an open hearing. The Committee shall not refrain from giving a
decision in an action on the basis that there are no provisions governing the litigation
in the Law or Regulations. In such a case, the Committee shall refer to the general laws
applicable in the Kingdom. Appeal against this decision may be made to the Board of
Grievances within sixty days from the date of notification.
During their period of service and for two years after termination of their service,
employees of the Directorate of Patents and members of the Committee shall not obtain
patents nor deal with any rights pertinent thereto.
The employees of the Directorate of Patents and members of the Committee shall not supply
any technical information, relating to a patent application which they have obtained in
their employment capacity, to any person unless such person is duly authorized to receive
such information in accordance with the rules applicable in the Kingdom. Further, they
shall not divulge any information to the public or use it in any way whatsoever. This
obligation shall continue after termination of their services.
Any person shall peruse, free of charge, patents registered at the Patent Office and any
data relating thereto. Any person may obtain copies thereof after payment of the
The fees shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Law pursuant to the
schedule attached, and such fees may be amended by a resolution of the Council of
The President of the City shall issue the necessary regulations and orders required for
the implementation of the provisions of this Law.
This law shall supersede Article (97) of the Labor and Workers Law promulgated by the
Royal Decree No. M/21 dated 6/9/1389 AH. It shall also supersede any contradictory
This Law shall be published in the Official Gazette and come into effect ninety days from
the date of its publication.
Schedule of Patent fees referred to in Article 59 of the Patent Act.
Fees payable for
1. Filing patent application 400.00 800.00
2. Publication and grant of a patent 500.00 1000.00
3. Annual fees for patent 400.00 800.00
4. Amendment or addition to the application 100.00 200.00
5. Assignment or any aspect relating to the transfer
of the patent 200.0 400.00
6. Obtaining a copy from patent register or any copy
of a patent or any other papers relating to a patent 50.00 100.00
7. Granting a compulsory license 4000.00 800.00
8. Registration of a licensing Contract 400.00 800.00
9. Application for extension of patent term 200.00 400.00