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  • Egypt to accept patent applications in Arabic


[CAIRO] Egypt is set to become the first country to accept patent applications in Arabic — a move that could speed up the patenting process for Arabic speakers around the globe.

The Egyptian Patent Office (EGPO) was appointed as an International Searching Authority (ISA) and International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA) during the recent assemblies of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) member states (22 September–1 October).

EGPO has become the fifteenth international office to be approved by WIPO under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. It is the first African or Arab country to receive accreditation and the third in the developing world, joining Brazil and India.

ISA and IPEA centres receive patent applications that are forwarded from patent offices around the world. The centres examine and research these applications and, based on their findings, may recommend that an inquirer apply for a national patent in any country. Patent regulations differ from country to country.

Mohamed Tarek Hussein, president of Egypt's Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, told SciDev.Net that the decision to approve the Egyptian centre was unanimous among member states. EGPO will now receive all patents submitted in Arabic to any patent office worldwide, as well all submissions from Arab League countries.

Mohammed Abd El-Monem, an Egyptian mechanic with experience of filing patents, welcomes the availability of an Arabic service. Until now, El-Monem has been forced to pay an expert to translate his ideas into English before submitting them. He believes the new system will enhance and accelerate the process of acquiring a patent.

But Adel Khalil, assistant professor of clinical pathology at Egypt's Cairo University, says he will continue to file patent applications in English, as this is the common language used in all medical faculties in Egypt.

Essmat Abd El-Latif, acting president of EGPO, says accreditation is an achievement for a developing country and his office has gone to considerable lengths to comply with WIPO requirements.

"We are working to make our office digital," he says. "This will ensure faster and safer services that can be integrated with the WIPO network and other intellectual patent offices worldwide."

EGPO will start accepting submissions within a few months.

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