The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) does not have a dedicated intellectual property rights (IPR) court for patent litigations so it can be expected that they have slight variances when it comes to the actual laws they implement and their methods of enforcement. In Bahrain, one notable difference is the compulsory licensing of patents if it was not used.
According to this part of Bahraini IP law, patent owners are supposed to enact their patents within 3 years of their application or the government will mandate their licensing. This license will allow the government or allow others to use the patent. This stipulation was created as a compromise in the enactment of the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). With it, governments are guaranteed that they can use patents in situations where it’s deemed necessary.
While cases of its use in Bahrain is not available, other countries like the US found it handy during some of the most trying times in history. The most noted case is during the height of the anthrax scare in 2001.
DHHS Secretary Thompson ordered the health department to stockpile the drug ciprofloxacin (Cipro) to ensure that treatment for up to 10 million people will be available when needed. The manufacturer is unable to meet the demand so the US Senate asked Secretary Thompson to issue a compulsory license of the drug’s patent that will allow other manufacturers to make the said drug. Something similar can take place in Bahrain as both countries have similar patent laws.
Despite the compulsory licensing, it’s still best to have your invention protected against infringers. To learn the patent application in Bahrain, read the guide below.
Every novel invention which is applicable industrially and employs original and innovative steps must be granted patent protection in Bahrain.
There is a temporary exception regarding protection for computer software though because it has not yet been formally discussed so it is not stated in any public announcement or any documentation if it can be obtained also.
The only instance where inventions may be disqualified in filing for protection will be if the said invention is deemed or considered contrary to morals and public order. The same applies if they are not in line with scientific theories, mathematical methods, welfare of plants and animals, and methods of treatment.
As for the rest, here are the step by step procedures together with important things to be aware of when filing for protection.
It is imperative that sufficient time is allotted for translating specifications and claims into Arabic and have the translation certified locally in Bahrain before the application is filed because a patent application in Bahrain is only allowed to be filed in Arabic.
A Power of Attorney is required at the time of filing of the patent application. The signatory must also be given enough time to sign the Power or Attorney.
Take note of the following document which is needed to be submitted within 90 day period:
commercial register, legalized up to the Bahraini Embassy;
It will take a few days to arrange local authentication in Bahrain upon receipt of the original legalized documents so one must ensure that the documents will arrive in Bahrain at least a week before the 90 day period so all the documents will be completed before the expiration date of the deadline.
Applicants who wish to obtain patent protection must keep in mind that if the patent will not be used within three years of the grant date, or within four years of filing, the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing because the Bahrain Patent Law gives provision for an applicant to use or exploit the patent within that period so all explorations in Bahrain must be scheduled and accomplished within that time frame.
All patent applications are registered at the Bahrain Industrial Property Office, which sits within the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
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