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New Draft Patent Law in Syria

Guiding Principle

Syria has recently started to develop its regulations on Intellectual Property Rights in order to join the International Protection and Trade Agreements. Therefore, a new draft patent law in Syria has recently introduced amendments on legislative Decree No. 47 of 1946 concerning patent protection.

A. The main purpose of the Draft Patent Law

Syria introduced back in 2008 a draft patent law which will replace the patent-related provisions of the existing legislative Decree No. 47 of 1946 once becoming effective. To enter into force in the country, the draft patent law should be first ratified by the Council after becoming effective by the Ministers and hereafter approved by the Syrian People’s Assembly and passed by the President.

The Ministry of Trade in Syria pointed out that the new draft patent law will be drafted in response to the changing economic variables on the local, regional and international level, the continued attention to improve intellectual property protection, as well as providing an environment that encourages investments, trade, technology transfer and innovation.

B. The Main Features of the Draft Patent Law

The draft patent law outlines several changes and features which will be as follows:

  • As per the new draft law, the legislative Decree No. 47 of 1946 and its amendments adopt auto-filing patent applications without conducting any examination and the applicant shall be responsible for any consequences. Previously, the Syrian Patent Office had usually verified completion of patent formalities, while the new draft patent law depends on the substantive examination system.
  • Pursuant to the draft patent law, it is permissible for applicants to request a patent search on the registered inventions prior to filing patent applications, after paying the specified fees.
  • Also and in accordance with the draft patent law, the main task of the Syrian Patent by the applicant within the first three months from the date of filing the application office is to examine all applications, together with their supporting documents, in order to be sure of fulfilling the formalities, with an option to fulfill such formalities. Subsequently, a substantive examination will be carried out on applications prior to the publication stage. All applications that fail to meet the provision of this law and its executive regulations shall lapse.
  • If the patent is not being fully exploited by the patentee within 4 years from filing date or 3 years from the date of grant, then the patent will be subject to compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law. (The patent has to be worked).
  • A maintenance fee is due annually on the anniversary of the date of grant. There is a 6 month grace period for late payment with a surcharge. Reinstatement of a patent is possible within 6 months form the date the patent is cancelled.
  • The Syrian Patent Office will inform the applicant of any amendments the application needs to undergo in order to be registered. The applicant shall have a period of 3 months from the date of notification in order to amend the application. If the applicant fails to achieve the aforementioned, the application shall be cancelled. The applicant shall be able to appeal against the decision of the Syrian Patent Office before the Ad Hoc Committee, which is mentioned later in Article 37 of this law, within 30 days starting from the last day of the aforementioned three (3) months period. The Ad Hoc Committee is formed by the Minister of Economy and Trade, presided by a judge appointed by the Minister of Justice and will review the objections to the decisions of the Syrian Patent Office. The decision of such Committee can be appealed against before the competent court within 30 days as from the date of the decision.
  • According to the draft patent law, the duration of the patent protection is nonrenewable 20 years starting from the date of filing the application at the Syrian Patent Office.
  • The draft patent law provides for a special section for the assignment of patents and licenses as well as the compulsory licenses and determines the conditions and procedures for the above-mentioned actions.
  • The draft patent law defines the “integrated circuits” and provides for special section for trade secrets, it defines the conditions that should be available in such secrets in order to gain legal protection.
  • In line with the draft patent law, a particular section at the first instance civil court of Damascus shall be assigned to settle all the disputes of the protection related to industrial property, separately from any administrative court. In addition a civil court of appeal shall be assigned to review the appeals against the aforesaid civil court of first instance decisions.
  • Furthermore, the parties involved in such conflicts have the right to resort to the national or the international arbitration with regard to disputes mentioned in this law 
April, 2011  Tareq Jeroudeah
  Meyer-Reumann & Partners – Dubai Office

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