Egypt

Legislation

In an effort to bring domestic legislation in line with WTO’S Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights {TRIPS) Agreement, Egypt People Assembly passed in July 2002 law No.82 entitled Intellectual Property Rights Law and its Implementing Regulations. It is a comprehensive piece of legislation embracing Patents and        Utility Models, Layout Designs and Integrated Circuits, Undisclosed Information, Marks, Trademarks, Geographical Indications and    Industrial Designs, Copyright and Plant Varieties.

Egypt has ratified the Paris Convention as of July 1, 1951, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) as of September 6, 2003, the Madrid Agreement (Marks) as of July1, 1952, l the Madrid Agreement (Source) as of July 1, 1952, the Madrid Protocol as of June 28, 1989 and the Berne Convention as of June, 1977. Egypt has ratified WIPO Convention as of April 21, 1975.

Egypt Patents Registration

The Egyptian law on the protection of Intellectual Property Rights endorsed the patentability criteria as stipulated in TIPS. It excludes in article 2 plants, animals and essentially biological processes for the production of plant or animal other than microorganisms, non-biological processes for the production of plant or animals. This includes pharmaceutical products that are isolated or purified from biological material or animals, manufactured drugs that are wholly or partially reliant on living organisms, and medicine produced by dependence on plants and animals. Microorganisms to qualify for patentability must fall within the ambit of only genetically modified or transgenic microorganism to the effect that microorganism already existing in nature shall be excluded. Such provision would ultimately defeat the so called bio-piracy to the effect of excluding from patentability any biological materials found in nature.

Applications are examined to ensure formal compliance. All required documents must be submitted within a period not exceeding six months from the date of filing including priority documents if priority is to be claimed. Once an application is accepted, it will be published in the Patent Gazette. Opposition may be triggered within 60 days from the date of publication. The applicant will be duly notified and he is obliged to response within 15 days. Article 17 provides that the Ministries of Defense, Military Production, and Health may oppose the grant within 90 days from the date of notification or publication as the case may be. The grant of a patent shall be made after the expiry of one year from the date of filing the application and shall remain confidential during the said period. Assignments with or without compensation should be recorded with the Patent Office which would ultimately be published in the Patent Gazette. Patent validity term is for twenty years calculated from the filing date. Patent annuities must be paid before or within the last month of each year during the validity period. A penalty amounting to 75% of the annuity fee shall be imposed if the proprietor failed to pay after being duly notified to effect payment within 30 days. A patent must be put into operation within a period of three years as from the date of grant or four years from the date of application. The law does incorporate a provision for compulsory license as when circumstances permit compulsory license may be granted by the patent office subject to approval of the Ministerial Committee on the ground of public non-commercial interest including national security, health, environmental, food safety, emergency and extreme urgency. In the said instances prior consultation with the right holder to obtain his consent is not a condition precedent as it is waived; however he or she shall be notified.

In the event of compulsory license by reason of an overriding public interest such as economic, social or technological reasons, the patent holder will be notified of the cogent justifications underlying the decision of compulsory license in a manner as would avoid unreasonable prejudice coupled with fair compensation. In the said instance compulsory license would be issued if the patent holder had declined to grant a contractual license on terms that are in line with customary commercial practices. Again, compulsory license may be granted in cases the patentee abuses the rights granted in a manner as would be adverse to fair competition such as fixing exorbitant prices, failure to supply local market needs, or the patentee commits adverse acts which ultimately hampers the process of technology transfer. In such an instance negotiations would not be entertained and compensation shall be made taking into account the adverse consequences resulting from the arbitrary, unfair competition acts committed by the patentee.

Compulsory license may be revoked after lapse of two years if the compulsory license granted proved to be adverse to national economy. The interested party may challenge the decision before the Ministerial Committee. Once more, where a patented invention cannot be put into operation without infringing rights under a patent granted on an earlier application, a compulsory license may be granted to the owner of the later patent to the extent required for the working of his invention, insofar as such invention comprises a significant technical advance, however, the other patentee shall have equal rights. In the field of semi-conductors technology, a compulsory license shall be granted for only public non-commercial purposes to offset adverse uncompetitive practices. The law provides for expropriation which must be based on the decision of the competent Minister subject to prior approval of the Ministerial Committee. Such an act must be based on national defense considerations, emergency and the needs of the state subject to payment of fair compensation to the patentee.

The law provides legal safeguards as to the conditions and circumstances where a compulsory license may be applied. These conditions and circumstances are: a compulsory license decision shall be based on the merits, a voluntary license has been declined by the patentee, capacity and efficiency of the licensee to exploit the invention, the beneficiary of the compulsory license is not permitted to sub-license, and payment of fair compensation. Appeals against the Patent Office decisions shall be made to a Committee preside over by a Court of Appeal judge, a consultant of the State Council and three other expert members. The presiding Committee shall render a decision with 60 days, and the decision of the Committee shall be appealed within 60 days to the Administrative Tribunal. On the basis of a valid basic or home application, the Patent Office shall grant and Exclusive Marketing Right Certificate for an applicant’s products, subject to prior approval of the Ministerial Committee.

A utility model patent shall be granted, under the law, for any new technical addition in the structure or composition of devices, tools, equipment or their components products or processes or means of manufacturing the above, and the like that is current in the use. A utility model applicant may convert his application into a patent application. Equally a patent applicant may convert his application into a utility model application. In both cases the date of the original application shall prevail

The Patent Office may spontaneously convert the application from a utility model to an application for a patent when the relevant requirements are met. Validity term for a utility model is a non-renewable period of seven years. A utility model may be converted into a patent and vice versa as and when the relevant requirements are satisfied. The validity term for Layout and integrated circuits protection is ten years from the date of application or the date when it was first commercially exploited in Egypt or abroad whichever occurs first. The application must be accompanied by a picture or a drawing and a sample of each integrated circuit together with information illustrating the electronic function of the integrated circuit

Infringements acts may be raised by the patentee to the competent court having civil or criminal jurisdiction as the case may be. The relief prayed for depends on the nature of the suit. If it is a criminal suit a court may issue an order amounting to confiscation and destruction of the infringed products. On the other hand, a civil court may enter a judgment including compensation for damages and losses sustained.

Formal filing requirements for a non-PCT application are as follows:

  1. Power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate    which is required to be submitted within a period of 4 months form the date of filing…
  2. A duly certified copy of the certificate of incorporation of the applicant company duly legalized by an Egyptian Consulate which is required to be submitted within a period of 4 months from the date of filing.
  3. Three copies of the specification and claims in English.
  4. Formal drawings including references entered in Arabic.
  5. Three copies of an abstract in English and Arabic.
  6. A duly executed deed of assignment if the applicant is not the inventor which is required to be submitted within a period of 4 months from the date of filing.
  7. Priority document, if priority is to be claimed which must be submitted within a three months period form the date of filing.

Formal filing requirements for a PCT application are as follows:

  1. Power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  2. A duly certified certificate of incorporation of the applicant company duly legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  3. Three copies of the specification and claims in English.
  4. Formal drawings including references entered in Arabic.
  5. Three copies of an abstract in English and Arabic.
  6. A duly executed deed of assignment if the applicant is not the inventor.
  7. Priority document, if priority is to be claimed.
  8. Copy of PCT international advertisement.
  9. Copy of the International Search Report.
  10. Copy of the International Preliminary Report.
  11. Copy of any changes, if any, made during the international phase process at WIPO.

NOTE: Documents required for mandatory formal filing are: Particulars of the applicant, title of the invention, copy of the specification, claims, formal drawings, and an abstract as published by WIPO. Other indicated documents may be filed within a two months period. Applications based on International Search article 22, chapter 1 of the PCT enters into Egypt national phase within twenty (20) months from the date of the priority claim. However those based on an international preliminary examination article 39, chapter 11 of PCT shall enter in Egypt national phase within 30 months from the date of the priority claim.

Designs.

The international Classification of Industrial Designs is maintained. Examination is confined to form. Once an application is accepted, the Certificate of Registration is issued and a notice of acceptance is published in the Gazette of Trademarks and Industrial Designs. In the event the Design Department declined to grant a design right, the applicant must be notified within 30 days. The applicant is entitled to challenge the Department’s decision by raising an appeal within 30 days to the Ministerial Committee whose decision may be appealed within 30 days to the Administrative Tribunal. Protection extends for a period of 10 years as from the date of filing and it is renewable for a further period of 5 years. An assignment is required to be recorded, and its publication is mandatory for the purposes of being effective against third parties.

Formal filing requirements.

  1. Power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  2. A duly certified copy of the certificate of incorporation of the applicant company duly legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  3. Three sets of formal drawings or photos clearly showing the design for which protection is thought.
  4. A duly executed deed of assignment if the applicant is not the proprietor.
  5. Priority document, if priority is to be claimed.

Patent annuities.

  1. Power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  2. Particulars of the applicant.
  3. The number and date of filing of the patent.

Changes.

  • Change of the owner’s name.
  • change of the owner’s address
  • assignment
  • licensing contract
  • mergers

Requirements:

  1. A duly executed Deed of Assignment legalized by an Egyptian Consulate
  2. Power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate
  3. A duly executed contract of licensing.
  4. A duly certified merger instrument.
  5. A duly certified instrument of change of name and/or address.
  6. Original letters of patent for endorsement purposes.

Trademarks/service marks.

The Trademarks Registry Department will examine applications to ensure formal compliance. Once formal compliance is secured, the application will be published in the Official Gazette of Trademarks and Industrial Designs, and hence the Certificate of Registration will be issued. In the event necessary modifications are required, the applicant will be notified within one month from the date of filing. The applicant must respond within a period not exceeding six months. In the event the Department declines to accept an application, the applicant is entitled to appeal to the Ministerial Committee within a period of 30 days. Opposition to registration may be made by residents or non-residents within a period of six months from the date of publication.

The International Classification of Goods and Services is followed (Nice Classification). The term of validity for a duly registered trademark is 10years, renewable for similar periods subject to payment of the prescribed fee, nonetheless a period of 6 months grace is allowed subject to imposition of a penalty amounting to 75% of the renewal fee which must be paid after the applicant being duly notified to pay within a 30 days period. A trademark may be assigned with or without goodwill; however an assignment must be recorded within a period of six months from the date of assignment as shown in the deed of assignment. However, in the event of a license the contract terms and conditions must not incorporate a specific time limit. Again, the terms and conditions must be reasonable as to provide the licensor with effective control and at the same time preserve the licensee’s freedom of management.

The license contract must embrace a provision to the effect that the licensor must refrain from acts which may undermine the status of the products. A trademark may be cancelled, if an interested third party established cogent grounds showing non-use for a period of five years as from the date of filing or three years from the date of grant. Infringement acts include, among other things, unfair competition acts. Infringement actions shall be presided over by the Administrative Tribunal.

Formal filing requirements are as follows:

  1. Name and address of the applicant including his nationality, his domicile and the address of his place of business.
  2. A power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  3. A duly certified copy of the certificate of incorporation of the applicant company duly legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  4. 12 prints of the mark for each class and a printing block.
  5. A complete list of goods and services to be covered by the registration.
  6. A duly certified copy of the priority document if priority is to be claimed.

NOTE: All documents may be filed together with the application form or later within a period preferably not exceeding a three months period. Opposition may be triggered within a three months period from the date of publication. Registration duration is for a period of ten years from the date of filing, renewable for further similar periods. International classification is followed.

Changes.

  • Alteration of goods and services.
  • Alteration of a registered trademark.
  • Voluntary cancellation of a registration.
  • Change of name and /or address of the owner.
  • Assignment of the registration.
  • Licensing contract.

Requirements:

  1. A power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  2. A duly certified instrument of change of name and/or address.
  3. Original certificate of registration / renewal as the case may be.
  4. A deed of assignment duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  5. A duly executed licensing contract.

Copyright.

Range and extent of protection.

The copyright law provides protection, among other things, for written works, phonographs and cinematographic films, theatre and musical pieces, television and radio works for publication, paintings, sculpture and architecture, maps and speeches. An amendment enacted in 1994 considers software as a literary work and as such a fifty years protection is provided. Protection under the copyright law ends fifty years after the death of the author. However, if the copyrighted substance is owned by a legal entity rather than a natural person, the fifty years protection shall begin on the date the material was first published. The author may assign the rights granted to him subject to prescribed terms and conditions. The author has exclusive wide latitude to commercially utilize his work within the bounds prescribed by law. Again, he has the right to maintain his copyrighted works by means of infringement actions to deter others from encroachment as to his rights. He may trigger a criminal action or a civil action as the facts of the infringement act warrant.

Formal filing requirements are as follows:

  1. Name and address of the applicant including his nationality, his domicile and the address of his place of business.
  2. A power of attorney duly executed and legalized by an Egyptian Consulate.
  3. A duly executed deed of assignment legalized by an Egyptian Consulate if the author is not the applicant.
  4. For Literal Works 10 copies are required to be lodged with the National Library of Egypt.
  5. As regards Artistic Works five copies are required to be lodged with the National Library of Egypt.
  6. As regards Computer Software two copies are required to be lodged with the Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC )

© 2017 - Dr.Adam & Associates. All rights are reserved.