As the importance of a knowledge-based economy quickly emerges in Saudi Arabia, intellectual property (IP) assets will play an increasing role. This will either be through third party IP rights that need to be licensed into the Kingdom, or where IP is developed and used within the Kingdom on a "home grown" basis. In this video, we will explore how best to protect IP rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

How to best protect IP rights in Saudi Arabia?

The protection of IP rights begins with an awareness of the IP that is being created every day, and within every organisation. Whether these are trade mark rights in brands, copyright in software, or patent rights in chemical compounds, the path to protection can only begin once there is an understanding of the types of rights that are being created and which are capable of being protected.

Trade marks, copyright works, patents, industrial designs and domain names are all capable of being protected in Saudi Arabia and there is an established legal framework which supports the registration and recordal of these valuable IP rights. Protection can take place through two primary means:

  • Firstly, through registration or recordal of the right through a government authority in Saudi Arabia.
  • Secondly, IP rights can, and should also be protected through contracts such as non-disclosure agreements, licensing agreements or development agreements.

Recent developments

The Saudi Intellectual Property Authority was created by Royal Decree in late 2017. Once fully established and operational, it will bring under one umbrella, the following IP functions:

  • Copyright, previously the responsibility of the Ministry of Culture and Information.
  • Trade marks, previously the responsibility of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment.
  • Patents, previously the responsibility of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

The creation of the Saudi Intellectual Property Authority is an important move by the Kingdom to recognise the interconnection between these key IP rights and it will allow the registration of these rights to be managed in a more effective and streamlined manner. One of the stated functions of the Authority is "promoting the benefit of intellectual property to build an advanced economy based on knowledge". This resonates with the very changes that we are seeing in the dynamic economy of Saudi Arabia.