1. Basic Information
Egypt is a country situated in the Middle East/Africa region, with an area of approximately 1, 000, 000 square kilometers (approximately 2.6 times the area of Japan) and a population of 77, 850, 000 (census of 2007).
Egypt's chief industries are agriculture (14.6% of GDP), mining (17.5%), commerce/finance/insurance (18.4%), petroleum (12.9%), and transportation (10.6 %). Foreign currency revenue sources such as tourism, waterway passage fees, petroleum exports, and foreign currency transfers by migrant workers are primary income sources, and they compensate for the unfavorable balance in commerce.
The currency of Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE) and the piaster (PT) (LE 1 = 100 PT) (source: MOFA website).
The authority concerning intellectual property in Egypt is the Egyptian Patent Office (EGYPO). EGYPO was appointed as the first International Searching Authority/International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) in Africa and the Arab/Middle Eastern region.
Further, due to the recent civil war, EGYPO was out of operation, but it resumed its normal work on February 20, 2011.
2. The Intellectual Property Law (Law No.82 of 2002)
Law No. 82 of 2002, on the Protection of the Intellectual Property Rights (enacted in June, 2002), consists of the following four books (source: JETRO website, last updated on April 26, 2010).
1. Patents, utility models, layout designs for integrated circuits, and undisclosed information
2. Trademarks, geographical indications, designs
3. Copyright and adjacent rights
4. Plant varieties
- Patents: twenty years from the filing date
- Utility models: seven years from the filing date
- Layout designs for integrated circuits: ten years from the filing date
- Undisclosed information: up to five years from the day on which it was submitted to the competent authority
- Designs: ten years from the filing date
- Trademarks: ten years from the date of registration (renewal possible)
- Copyright: from the time of creation until fifty years after the creator’s decease (some exceptions apply)
- Plant varieties: twenty or twenty-five years from the date of license.
The number of patent applications in Egypt from 2003 to 2010 is indicated in the graph below. As it can be seen from the graph, there has been a considerable increase in PCT applications in Egypt since 2003. Also, the number of patent registrations in Egypt is not large, but it is gradually increasing.
（Source: EGYPO website）
Below is a simple introduction to the Egyptian patent system.
(1) Application routes
Besides filing a direct application, it is possible to file an application under either the Paris Convention or the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
(2) Inventions not eligible for protection
The following are not eligible for protection under the patent law.
- 1. Inventions whose use is likely to contravene public order and morality and inventions which harm the environment or the life or health of humans, animals or plants.
- 2. Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, programs and schemes
- 3. Diagnostic, therapeutic or surgical methods concerning humans or animals
- 4. Plants or animals (besides microorganisms), regardless of how rare or special they may be, together with biological processes for producing plants or animals (not including non-biological processes for producing plants or animals and microbiological processes are eligible).
- 5. Organs, tissues, living cells, natural biological substances, nucleic acids, and/or genomes.
The invention belongs to the inventor.
It is required to indicate the name and nationality of the inventor upon filing an application. In case of a PCT application, they have to be submitted no later than at the time of entry into the national stage.
Also, in a case where the invention has been made as part of the inventor’s activities at a public or private organization, the employer must choose either to implement the invention or to pay a fair reward to the inventor and obtain the patent right. This choice has to be made within three months from the day of the notification of patent grant.
(4) Examination system
No particular form is required for a substantive examination; however, a substantive examination is not conducted unless the full amount of the examination fee is paid. The items subject to examination are novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability of the invention, as well as whether it is in accordance with the regulations of the law.
(5) Duration of patent right
The term of duration of patent right in Egypt is twenty years from the filing date.
Further, the term of patent right duration regarding PCT applications in Egypt is twenty years from the international filing date. Annuities are also calculated based on the international filing date (announcement of June 6, 2009).
(6) In cases where the application concerns an invention related to plant or animal biological materials, traditional medicine, agriculture, knowledge of industry or arts and crafts, cultural or environmental heritage
The inventor must enclose a declaration with regard to the source of the said materials, proving that he/she has used them in accordance with national laws and in a fair manner.
(7) In cases where the application concerns an invention regarding biological materials
The applicant has to clearly disclose the biological material so that its qualities, characteristics, and use are determined, to deposit a living sample at a research establishment recognized by the minister in charge of scientific research, and to submit a certificate proving that the deposition has taken place.
(8) Information disclosure of prior applications
In case the applicant has filed applications in foreign countries with regard to the same invention, the applicant has to submit pertinent information.
(9) Utility models
At the time of entry into the national stage of a PCT application, the applicant may choose to file a utility model application or a patent application. Further, the choice has to be indicated by checking a box in the application form for the national stage entry.
(11) Application amendments
In a case where an amendment has been requested by the EGYPO and the applicant does not make the amendment within three months from the date of the notification, the application is considered withdrawn. The applicant may request a trial within thirty days from the date of the notification of decision for deemed withdrawal.
In addition, the applicant may supplement or correct the international application provided the applicant does so before the announcement of permission for the application has been made. However, this is under the condition that the scope of claims of the subject of the invention not be enlarged.
5. Requirements for Transferring a PCT Application into National Stage
In order to transfer a PCT application into the Egyptian national stage, one should take into consideration the following:
||30 months from the priority date(Possible extension to 33 months; however, an extension fee is charged)
|Language of translation
||1. Name(s) and address(es) of the inventor(s), if these were not recorded in the request for international application2. Three copies of the translation of the international application (specification, claims, explanations in the drawings, and abstract)*3. In case there has been a change of applicant, or of any applicant’s name after the international stage, but the change is not reflected in the WO notification (form PCT/IB/306), a document certifying the change in question.4. An assignment deed in case there has been a change of applicant after the international stage of the application5. A notification of selection of a representative in case the applicant does not reside in Egypt.
|Deadline for submission of translation of the international application
||Six months from the EGYPO notification
|Parties that may be appointed as representatives
||Patent attorneys or patent agents registered at the EGPO?
* In case any amendment is based on PCT Article 22, translations of the claims of both the original application and the amended application, as well as a translation of the explanation based on Article 19, are necessary. In case it is based on PCT Article 39 (1), and any of the documents have been amended, translations of both the originally filed documents and of the documents as amended through the annex by the international preliminary examination report are necessary.
Egypt became a signatory to the Madrid Protocol on September 3, 2009. Thus, it is possible to file applications under the Madrid Protocol from Japan to Egypt.
Egyptian Patent Office (EGYPO) (English)＜http://www.egypo.gov.eg/＞
8. Reference materials/websites
The PCT Applicant’s Guide (accessed at the WIPO website)
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) website