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Saudi Arabia to protect young innovators with its first IP protection strategy

The registration process for patents currently takes 24 to 36 months, the strategy will make sure it's done in a year.

[Source photo: Shutterstock | Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

An 11% rise in applications for patents in Saudi Arabia last year indicates a surge in innovation as the kingdom moves towards non-oil sectors. Trademark registrations also increased by 26%, as entrepreneurs focused more on protecting their ideas. But it still takes two to three years on average to register patents.

Saudi Arabia has its first national strategy for safeguarding intellectual property to foster creative thinking and innovation. The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) seeks to make sure patent registrations are completed in a year and aims to encourage innovators to incubate their ventures in the country.

The SAIP will monitor sectors to spot the ones with the highest number of patent violations and carry out regular inspections. Websites found infringing on the intellectual property rights of original content creators will be blocked temporarily. A permanent IP enforcement committee will be set up to facilitate collaboration between government agencies and private firms.

Among other initiatives, innovators will be able to communicate with SAIP via intellectual property consulting clinics. Their Intellectual Property Academy has also supported 8500 people with a certificate course in the IP business. In addition to these, SAIP deployed a network of support centers across the kingdom to provide the technical know-how for innovators.

To create a legal infrastructure to deal with trademark violations, the authority enrolled almost 50 judges in a program on intellectual property rights. Swift registration will also enhance Saudi Arabia’s global ranking in terms of patent applications – it currently stands at the seventh position.

The move is important for the shift from oil and gas toward other sectors since registration of industrial models went up by almost 50%. Protection of intellectual property will be crucial to ensure that patent violations don’t interrupt this transition in the kingdom.

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