United Arab Emirates: KIPO Is A New Competent International Searching And Preliminary Examining Authority

The International Center for Patent Registration, Ministry of Economy (United Arab Emirates), has designated the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), in addition to the Australian Patent Office and the Austrian Patent Office, as a competent International Searching and Preliminary Examining Authority. This concerns international applications filed on or after January 6, 2019, by nationals and residents of the United Arab Emirates with the International Bureau as Receiving Office.

The objective of the international search is to discover prior art and provide applicants with results in the form of an International Search Report. At the same time as establishing the International Search Report, the search examiner establishes a written opinion. The written notice has the primary objective of formulating a preliminary and non-binding opinion on the questions of whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step (to be non-obvious) and to be industrially applicable. A secondary objective is to identify whether there seem to be any defects in the form or contents of the international application, for example concerning the clarity of the claims, the description and the drawings, or whether the description fully supports the claims.

What benefits does the additional option to select KIPO as the International Searching Authority offer?

1. Reduced fees

Comparing with the two further applicable Searching Authorities, the best-price option for the International Search is Korea, at $1.169.

International Searching Authority International Search Fee 
Austrian Patent Office $2,169
Australian Patent Office $1,589
Korean Intellectual Property Office $1,169

When it comes to choosing an International Preliminary Examining Authority, the Ministry of Economy (UAE) has designated KIPO as being both an International Searching Authority and an International Preliminary Examining Authority. International preliminary examination may be requested to make amendments to your international application in order to overcome objections raised in the written opinion of the International Search Report. It can also help you obtain a more favorable International Preliminary Report on Patentability (IPRP). The table below lists the cost of preliminary examination, comparing the costs of the Austrian and Australian Searching Authority with those involved in choosing KIPO. 

International Preliminary Examining Authority Preliminary Examination fee 
Austrian Patent Office €1,749  (about $2000)
Australian Patent Office $820 AUD (about $580)
Korean Intellectual Property Office ₩226,000 (about $400)

2.  National UAE applications are examined by KIPO's examiners

In 2014, the UAE Ministry of Economy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KIPO seeking to strengthen cooperation in protecting Intellectual Property. As a result, patent applications submitted to the UAE's Ministry of Economy are examined in collaboration with KIPO. Having the application examined in the national phase in UAE by an authority who performed the search in the international phase may be beneficial and possibly accelerate the procedure.

3.  KIPO's international activities

A further point to benefit from choosing KIPO as the International Searching Authority is their engagement in an international cooperation on Intellectual Property rights. Besides the Patent Prosecution Highway, KIPO is also a member of IP5. IP5 is a forum of the five largest Intellectual Property offices in the world (CNIPA, EPO, JPO, KIPO and USPTO) set up to improve the efficiency of the examination process for patents worldwide. Read more about the IP5 here

4.  Close collaborations between KIPO and the UAE Ministry of Economy in the IP field

In addition to the examination collaboration mentioned before, KIPO also cooperates with the UAE on improving the environment of the patent information system. Recently, UAE launched an Industrial Property Automation System in cooperation with KIPO. KIPO's automation system technology is allowing the entire process of UAE's industrial property administration to be handled online. Accordingly, UAE companies and individuals are experiencing a significantly improved patent application process.

If and when the UAE may join the PPH remains to be seen, but does not seem too unlikely in the light of the above described recent developments. In any event, the latter already indicates that the most appropriate choice when filing PCTs from the UAE is to opt for the KIPO.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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