SAUDI ARABIA: SAIP Announced As Sole IP Authority - INTABulletin Vol. 75 No. 9

Saudi Arabia
May 2020

Contributor: Rimi Kbar, Alyafi IP Group, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
INTA Bulletins—Middle East and Africa Subcommittee

Verifier: Mohammad Al Faouri, Meshal Al Akeel Law Firm (member of CWB Group), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Following the decision of the Council of Ministers to approve the organization of the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) as the sole competent authority concerned with all areas of intellectual property (IP) in the Kingdom, the new authority launched its online services in February 2020, to replace the IP offices previously regulated by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment.

SAIP was initiated as part of the Saudi National Transformation Program 2020. It is headquartered in Riyadh and works to protect, regulate, and enforce all areas of IP. SAIP’s online system provides protection systems for trademarks, patents, industrial designs, as well as copyright. Previously, there was no functioning copyright registration, although it is noteworthy that copyright registration remains optional for rights holders.

The SAIP also aims at supporting technology and innovation through the National Network of Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISC), which guide innovators in creating, commercializing, protecting, and managing their IP. In cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization and several universities in Saudi Arabia, SAIP launched 21 IP centers in five regions in the Kingdom, designed to support Saudi’s innovators and entrepreneurs.

SAIP’s new platform is considered a step up from the old system in terms of efficiency and user-friendliness. While the old system was among the best in the region and was regularly applauded for its effective and advanced services, we can only expect that the new system will be even better regarded.

As the liaison office for all international and regional organizations and offices, SAIP signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to facilitate joint cooperation between both parties through exchanging experiences and global best practices for IP prosecution. SAIP is also collaborating with INTA, sharing ideas and best practices that INTA can share with other IP offices, while INTA will provide SAIP with policy advice and capacity building trainings.

One of the main objectives of SAIP is to contribute to “Saudi Vision 2030” by fostering an innovation culture in Saudi Arabia and increasing the economic return of IP. Saudi Arabia is geared toward fostering local innovation. It is an active investor in world-class, innovative technologies like TESLA and ARM, and in Silicon Valley and UK startups like Twitter, Uber, Slack, Lyft, and Babylon. The Kingdom’s focus on investment will help it lead the region in the innovation sector, and it is expecting to continue to make gains in the Global Innovation Index.

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