Bodies: World Intellectual Property Organization, World Trade Organization.

Conventions: Berne Convention, Madrid Agreement (Source), Nairobi Treaty, Paris Convention, Phonograms Convention, Trademark Law Treaty, Hague Agreement, Madrid Agreement and Protocol, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Nice Agreement, Strasbourg Agreement.

Country Information

 Capital: Cairo
 Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan
 Languages: Arabic (official); English and French widely understood.
 Currency: 1 U.S. $= 6.97 Egyptian Pound (January 2014)
 Timezone: GMT + 2

Patent Summary

The Egyptian law on the protection of Intellectual Property Rights endorsed the patentability criteria as stipulated in TIPS. It excludes in article 2 plants, animals and essentially biological processes for the production of plant or animal other than microorganisms, non-biological processes for the production of plant or animals. This includes pharmaceutical products that are isolated or purified from biological material or animals, manufactured drugs that are wholly or partially reliant on living organisms, and medicine produced by dependence on plants and animals. Microorganisms to qualify for patentability must fall within the ambit of only genetically modified or transgenic microorganism to the effect that microorganism already existing in nature shall be excluded. Such provision would ultimately defeat the so called bio-piracy to the effect of excluding from patentability any biological materials found in nature.

Applications are examined to ensure formal compliance. All required documents must be submitted within a period not exceeding six months from the date of filing including priority documents if priority is to be claimed. Once an application is accepted, it will be published in the Patent Gazette. Opposition may be triggered within 60 days from the date of publication. The applicant will be duly notified and he is obliged to response within 15 days. Article 17 provides that the Ministries of Defense, Military Production, and Health may oppose the grant within 90 days from the date of notification or publication as the case may be. The grant of a patent shall be made after the expiry of one year from the date of filing the application and shall remain confidential during the said period. Assignments with or without compensation should be recorded with the Patent Office which would ultimately be published in the Patent Gazette. Patent validity term is for twenty years calculated from the filing date. Patent annuities must be paid before or within the last month of each year during the validity period. A penalty amounting to 75% of the annuity fee shall be imposed if the proprietor failed to pay after being duly notified to effect payment within 30 days. A patent must be put into operation within a period of three years as from the date of grant or four years from the date of application. The law does incorporate a provision for compulsory license as when circumstances permit compulsory license may be granted by the patent office subject to approval of the Ministerial Committee on the ground of public non-commercial interest including national security, health, environmental, food safety, emergency and extreme urgency. In the said instances prior consultation with the right holder to obtain his consent is not a condition precedent as it is waived; however he or she shall be notified.

Registration is affected at the Copyright Office, Directorate of Publications, administered by the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information. Registration is not obligatory; however registration shall be looked upon as a reliable reference to copyright information. The copyright law provides protection, among other things, for original intellectual works in arts; literature and science whatsoever their value, the underlying purposes behind their creation or the manner of expression, insofar, as the prescribed provisions called for under the law have been observed. The protection embraces a wide spectrum including, inter alia, written literal works, computer software and translations of original works.

In the event of compulsory license by reason of an overriding public interest such as economic, social or technological reasons, the patent holder will be notified of the cogent justifications underlying the decision of compulsory license in a manner as would avoid unreasonable prejudice coupled with fair compensation. In the said instance compulsory license would be issued if the patent holder had declined to grant a contractual license on terms that are in line with customary commercial practices. Again, compulsory license may be granted in cases the patentee abuses the rights granted in a manner as would be adverse to fair competition such as fixing exorbitant prices, failure to supply local market needs, or the patentee commits adverse acts which ultimately hampers the process of technology transfer. In such an instance negotiations would not be entertained and compensation shall be made taking into account the adverse consequences resulting from the arbitrary, unfair competition acts committed by the patentee.

Compulsory license may be revoked after lapse of two years if the compulsory license granted proved to be adverse to national economy. The interested party may challenge the decision before the Ministerial Committee. Once more, where a patented invention cannot be put into operation without infringing rights under a patent granted on an earlier application, a compulsory license may be granted to the owner of the later patent to the extent required for the working of his invention, insofar as such invention comprises a significant technical advance, however, the other patentee shall have equal rights. In the field of semi-conductors technology, a compulsory license shall be granted for only public non-commercial purposes to offset adverse uncompetitive practices. The law provides for expropriation which must be based on the decision of the competent Minister subject to prior approval of the Ministerial Committee. Such an act must be based on national defense considerations, emergency and the needs of the state subject to payment of fair compensation to the patentee.

The law provides legal safeguards as to the conditions and circumstances where a compulsory license may be applied. These conditions and circumstances are: a compulsory license decision shall be based on the merits, a voluntary license has been declined by the patentee, capacity and efficiency of the licensee to exploit the invention, the beneficiary of the compulsory license is not permitted to sub-license, and payment of fair compensation. Appeals against the Patent Office decisions shall be made to a Committee preside over by a Court of Appeal judge, a consultant of the State Council and three other expert members. The presiding Committee shall render a decision with 60 days, and the decision of the Committee shall be appealed within 60 days to the Administrative Tribunal. On the basis of a valid basic or home application, the Patent Office shall grant and Exclusive Marketing Right Certificate for an applicant’s products, subject to prior approval of the Ministerial Committee.

A utility model patent shall be granted, under the law, for any new technical addition in the structure or composition of devices, tools, equipment or their components products or processes or means of manufacturing the above, and the like that is current in the use. A utility model applicant may convert his application into a patent application. Equally a patent applicant may convert his application into a utility model application. In both cases the date of the original application shall prevail

The Patent Office may spontaneously convert the application from a utility model to an application for a patent when the relevant requirements are met. Validity term for a utility model is a non-renewable period of seven years. A utility model may be converted into a patent and vice versa as and when the relevant requirements are satisfied. The validity term for Layout and integrated circuits protection is ten years from the date of application or the date when it was first commercially exploited in Egypt or abroad whichever occurs first. The application must be accompanied by a picture or a drawing and a sample of each integrated circuit together with information illustrating the electronic function of the integrated circuit

Infringements acts may be raised by the patentee to the competent court having civil or criminal jurisdiction as the case may be. The relief prayed for depends on the nature of the suit. If it is a criminal suit a court may issue an order amounting to confiscation and destruction of the infringed products. On the other hand, a civil court may enter a judgment including compensation for damages and losses sustained.

Trademark Requirements

Trademark/Service Mark/Collective Mark Applications:

    • Power of attorney, legalized. A general power of attorney may be used for subsequent filings
    • Copy of certificate of home or any foreign application or registration, legalized; or certificate of incorporation, legalized; or certificate from the chamber of commerce indicating the nature of business, legalized
  • Copy of priority document, if priority is claimed, certified.

Renewal of Trademark / Service Mark Registrations:

    • A simply signed power of attorney, stamped with the company’s seal
    • The number and date of registered trademark/service mark

Assignment Applications:

    • A power of attorney by the assignee, duly legalized from the Bahrain consulate
    • A duly legalized deed of assignment signed by the assignor and the assignee

License Applications:

    • Legalized license agreement by the Egyptian Consulate
    • A Power of Attorney by the licensee and the licensor legalized up to the Egyptian Consulate. (To be submitted at the time of filing the application)
  • An extract of the entry of the licensee company in the commercial register, or a certified copy of the certificate of incorporation legalized up to the Egyptian Consulate.
  • The name, address, nationality and profession or nature of business of the licensee.

Trademark Summary

In an effort to bring domestic legislation in line with WTO’S Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights {TRIPS) Agreement, Egypt People Assembly passed in July 2002 law No.82 entitled Intellectual Property Rights Law and its Implementing Regulations. It is a comprehensive piece of legislation embracing Patents and Utility Models, Layout Designs and Integrated Circuits, Undisclosed Information, Marks, Trademarks, Geographical Indications and Industrial Designs, Copyright and Plant Varieties.

Egypt has ratified the Paris Convention as of July 1, 1951, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) as of September 6, 2003, the Madrid Agreement (Marks) as of July1, 1952, l the Madrid Agreement (Source) as of July 1, 1952, the Madrid Protocol as of June 28, 1989 and the Berne Convention as of June, 1977. Egypt has ratified WIPO Convention as of April 21, 1975.The International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks under the Nice Agreement is followed in Egypt and the revision of class 42 with the creation of classes 43 to 45 has been adopted as of January 1, 2002.

Once a trademark application is filed, the trademark is examined as to its registrability. All classes and services can be protected as the class heading can claim all the goods it covers. Should the mark lack any requirement as provided for in the law and its regulations, the examiner will reject the application. The applicant may appeal such a rejection of its application within 30 days from the date of receiving the relevant official notification..

Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the Trademark Gazette. Oppositions may be filed within 60 days from publication date. Extension of time for oppositions/counter-oppositions or for responding to office actions is not possible. The opposition case is referred to the competent tribunal, if not settled by the Registrar, or if either party objects to the decision issued by the Registrar. In the absence of opposition, a published trademark is registered, and the relative certificate will be issued.

A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the date of filing the trademark application and it is renewable for periods of 10 years each upon application and payment of the prescribed renewal fees.

Use of a trademark is not required for registration or renewal of a mark. However, a trademark is vulnerable to cancellation by any interested party if there has been no effective use of the mark for a period of 5 consecutive years.

The assignment of a trademark should be recorded, and unless it is published in the Official Gazette and entered in the records of the Trademark Office, it shall not be counted valid. Changes in the name and/or address of a registrant must be recorded.

Use of trademarks in Egypt is not compulsory for filing applications for registration or for maintaining trademark registrations in force. However, a trademark registration is vulnerable to cancellation on the strength of a court decision obtained to this effect by any interested party.

A cancellation action relies basically on establishing sufficient grounds that the trademark in question has not actually been used seriously for a period of 5 consecutive years. A trademark registration is consequently canceled unless the owner proves that non-use of the trademark was for reasonable cause of which the court approves. The Trademark Office or any party concerned is entitled to demand cancellation of any trademark registered in bad faith.

Any infringement or unauthorized use of a registered trademark is punishable under the provisions of the current trademark law.