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Gulf Cooperation Council

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional, intergovernmental, political, and economic union comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The GCC has its own regional patent office called the GCC Patent Office (GCCPO). The GCCPO issues patents according to the Patent Law and the Regulation of the GCC.[1]

While the GCC is neither a part of the Patent Cooperation Treaty nor of the Paris Convention, all GCC states are signatories to both treaties.

For a long time, the GCCPO issued a unitary patent that was enforced in all GCC states,[2] but in 2022 the office's role was changed. It now receives and handles patent applications in regard to their examination and prosecution, and grants only and separately for the GCC states requests on behalf of their national patent offices. This means that the grant of a patent is subject to approval from the requesting member state and only valid in that state.[3]

Software patents

According to Article 3/1 of the Patent Regulation, computer programs are not patentable subject matter:

3/1 for the purposes of this Regulation, the following shall not be regarded as inventions:

3/1/1 Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, and computer programs.
3/1/2 Schemes, rules, and methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts, or playing games.
3/1/3 Plant varieties and species of animals, and biological processes for the production of plants or animals with the exception of microbiological processes and the products thereof.
3/1/4 Methods of surgical or therapeutic treatment of the human or animal body and methods of diagnosis applied to the human or animal body with the exception of products used in any of these methods.

3/2 This Regulation shall not protect varieties of plants or species of animals.

The absence of ambiguous wording like "as such" is promising, but we need more information on how patents are issued.


  1. In regard to these laws:

    [...] the GCC Patent Law and the Regulation are basically registration and administrative statuses. Although they are considered to serve as a benchmark for regional patent systems, they seem to include very little in terms of enforcement, infringements, precautionary measures and sanctions. In this respect, all that they do is to defer these matters to each GCC member state to deal with under its own jurisdiction.

    Al-Louzi Rawan et al., "The GCC Unified Patent System: An Analytical Study" in Intellectual Property Rights: Development and Enforcement in the Arab States of the Gulf (ed. Price David & AlDebasi Alhanoof), Gerlach Press, 2017, p. 156.

  2. Al-Hajeri Mohammed F., The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) patent office, World Patent Information, Vol. 28, No. 1, 2006, p. 19, doi:10.1016/j.wpi.2005.06.004.
  3. Almansoor Hisham, Bahrain: Legal Update: Amendment To The GCC Patents Law[archived],, 2022-07-07.

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