Patents of Invention
– Law No. 2 of 2011 on Patents, Utility Models, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits and Undisclosed Information, issued on January 12, 2011, in force since April 12, 2011.
– Ministerial Decree No. 271/2010, issued on October 31, 2010, allowing the framework of the patent system to be activated.
Membership in International Conventions
– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since March 29, 1979.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since February 15, 2007.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since June 26, 2014.
Applicant: Yemeni nationals and foreigners wanting to have their invention protected in Yemen.
Protection for foreigners and nationals not living in the country: the law has granted the protection of patents for both Yemeni nationals and foreigners similarly.
Naming of the inventor(s): the names of the inventors should be indicated in the application form in both English and Arabic.
Types of patents: no specific regulations for this in the current law.
Patentability criteria: novelty and industrial applicabiIity.
Exceptions to protection: (1) invention, whose use is contrary to the Islamic Sharia, contrary to public order or morality, violates the security of the Republic or damage to the environment or human, animal or plantation life and health; (2) discoveries, theories, mathematical methods and regulations, rules, principles and techniques of doing business, exercising pure mental activities or playing games; (3) methods of diagnosis, surgery or treatment of human beings or animals; (4) plants or animals or processes used to produce plants or animals with the exception of microbiological organisms, non-biological methods and microbiological processes; (5) organs, tissues, living cells, natural biological substances, DNA, blood, hormones and genes.
Novelty: absolute novelty is required.
Novelty grace period: twelve months.
Priority: may be claimed within twelve months.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. Power of attorney, executed in the name of the applicant and legalized up to a Yemeni Consulate or any other Arab Consulate;
2. A notarized and legalized deed of assignment, if any, executed by the inventor(s) assigning the patent rights to the applicant;
3. One copy of the specification, together with its Arabic translation;
4. One set of the drawings relating to the invention, if any;
5. An abstract of the invention of no more than 100 words with an Arabic translation;
6. A certified copy of the priority document for claiming priority, if any.
Terms for filing the missing documents: above documents 1 and 2 may be submitted within sixty days from the Yemeni filing date, the certified copy of the priority document should be submitted within ninety days.
Note: a patent application must be filed within twelve months from the filing date abroad.
Electronic filing: is not available in Yemen.
Electronic signatures: are not accepted (only wet signatures). It is possible to submit soft scanned copies of any required document; the original must be submitted at a later date.
For a change of name or address:
1. Power of attorney, legalized up to a Yemeni Consulate or any other Arab Consulate;
2. A certified or notarized document showing the change of name or address;
3. A simple copy of the Letters Patent.
Examination and Protection
Examination: formal examination is available for the time being. However, the substantive examination options of patent applications shall be determined as follows: (1) approving registration certifications or the substantive examination results of the patent application filed at any of the Paris Convention member country in accordance with the Convention’s terms and conditions; (2) approving the search results obtained from the international patents database or research engines; (3) official affidavit from any recognized scientific institution specialized in the same field.
Accelerated examination: not applicable.
Conversion: a patent application may be converted into a utility model application, or vice versa.
Amendments: it may be possible to submit an amendment to the patent specification, claims and abstract. However, this should be accompanied by the amendment of the original application.
Divisions, Objections of the Office, Secrecy, Prior user disputes: not regulated in the current law.
Publication: an application should be published in the Official Gazette (AL-TIJARAH) issued by the General Department of Intellectual Property Protection as a means to publish the patent and inform respective parties accordingly.
Opposition: an application may be opposed within ninety days from the date of publication in the Official Gazette. If no opposition is filed, the Letters Patent will be issued in paper format.
Beginning of protection: the filing date of the Yemeni application.
Duration of protection: patents: twenty years from the filing date; utility models: seven years from the filing date, non-renewable; conversion into a patent application is possible; layout designs of integrated circuits: ten years from the filing date.
Supplementary Protection Certificates for pharmaceuticals or plant protection products: not available.
Annuities: due annually on the anniversary of the filing date.
Annuity grace period: one month with surcharge (not yet applied).
Assignment – license: possible. An application for the assignment of an issued patent may be filed with the General Department of Intellectual Property Protection.
Working: if a patent is not worked within four years from the filing date or three years from the date of grant it is subject to compulsory licensing. Non-working does not lead to lapse of a patent.
Marking/text of marking: not regulated.
Modification of Protection after Registration
Rights of prior user: not regulated.
Cancellation: may be handled through the Commercial Court.
Compulsory license: provided for.
Infringement and penalties: any infringement actions can only be handled through the Commercial Court. A fine of YER 1,000,000 has to be paid.
Enforcement: not regulated.