The government of Saudi Arabia has recently announced its approval of the country's accession to the Patent Cooperation Treatry (PCT).
The PCT is an international system that streamlines the initial stages of the patent application procedure where protection is sought in a wide range of countries. The system includes most countries that are likely to be of interest to patent applicants, but there are certain countries where it is sometimes desired to file a patent application but for which the PCT cannot be used. Notable absentees from the PCT system include Taiwan, much of South America, many countries in Africa and many countries in the Middle East. For these countries, the only way to obtain patent protection is to file separate national applications, usually alongside a PCT application.
The accession of Saudi Arabia will plug one such gap in the PCT system and will provide applicants with the opportunity to provisionally cover that country in the same way as all the other countries in the PCT system.
It is not yet known when the PCT will enter into force for Saudi Arabia, but once it does it will be possible to designate that country in PCT applications, under the standard country code "SA".
10 February 2010