The Gulf Cooperation Council Patent Office (GCCPO) is open for business again. The GCCPO is the fifth-largest regional patent office within the informal international patent system. Its six-member countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The GCCPO stopped accepting patent applications in 2021 because its governing counsel planned to amend some provisions of the governing regulations. However, the office began accepting applications from at least two member countries, Bahrain and Kuwait, on Jan. 1, 2023.

The GCCPO provides an applicant with the ability to file a single patent application that will be examined substantively by the office. If the application is granted, the applicant will receive a patent that will be valid in all six countries.

The GCCPO should be considered as an option if a potential applicant is thinking of applying for patent protection in one or more of the member countries. However, the applicant should consult an attorney who is licensed in one of those countries because the interplay between the GCCPO and its member countries is complex. For example, an applicant cannot apply for a patent in the GCCPO and one of its member countries at the same time.

Further complicating matters is the fact the GCCPO is not a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty or Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. However, all of its member countries are.