In a long awaited development, the Kuwaiti Patent Office (KPO) has finally initiated substantive examination of patent applications and is issuing search and examination reports on pending applications. Nonetheless, given that substantive examination is new in Kuwait, the process has started out rather slowly but is expected to increase as the KPO becomes more accustomed to conducting formal examination. Moreover, in the January 2021 Official Gazette, the KPO published two granted patents, which were the first two patents granted in Kuwait. Finally, laws and regulations are in place in Kuwait for the complete prosecution of patent applications from filing to grant.
This news regarding the start of substantive examination is welcomed, particularly given the concern raised by many innovators on the ability to seek patent protection in Kuwait after the regional GCC Patent Office issued a notification to stop accepting new patent applications as of January 6, 2021.
By way of background, in April 2016, the KPO adopted the GCC Patent Law and regulations as its current law and regulations. However, in July 2016, Kuwait acceded to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which entered into force in September of the same year.
Currently, the KPO is working through an existing backlog of pending applications. Applicants should expect that their pending Kuwaiti patent applications will be examined and final decisions issued thereafter in due course. Under the local regulations, Applicants will have a non-extendable period three months from the date of any notification from the KPO to correct any formal defects in their applications.
It is expected that the KPO’s efforts to develop the national system and streamline the registration process of patent applications will help promote local innovation and attract foreign patent applicants to protect their inventions in Kuwait.