Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) introduces Copyright Registration System

Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) introduces Copyright Registration System

The Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) in continuous efforts to upgrade the Intellectual Property (IP) regime in the Kingdom is taking a number of initiatives. SAIP recently published regulations for Copyright (optional) registration in Saudi Arabia.

The Copyright registration will benefit the right holders to get a Copyright registration certificate from SAIP, which shall serve as a prima facie evidence of ownership. In view of Saudi legal system and IP practice, the importance of having registration certificate is very high. Such certificate will not only help in enforcement of rights before judicial bodies but also help the rightful owners to activate an efficient custom watch in different ports. Under Saudi Copyright law and Border procedure for protection of IP, Copyright owners can make use effective border control measure in Saudi Arabia. The recordal of registration certificate will certainly help Customs officials to act with confidence against piracy.

As a member of Berne Convention, registration of work is not a pre-condition for claim of Copyrights in Saudi Arabia and this regulation explicitly recognizes this principle. The registration is optional but significant.

According to the regulations, the SAIP provides the registration service for the Architectural Designs, and Computer Softwares/applications however the registration procedure will most likely extend to other work through a decision of the Chief Executive of the SAIP. The wordings of the regulation clarify that it can accommodate any type of work if a decision in this regard is taken by the Chief Executive.

Provided the work is not excluded from protection under Saudi Copyright law, the application for registration must meet the following conditions:

  1. The work or any of its contents shall not be contrary to Islamic law, kingdom regulations or public morals.
  2. The application should be limited to one work, considering the nature of the works.
  3. The work should be in its final form.
  4. The Statement of originality will be submitted by applicant.
  5. An undertaking that the applicant shall be responsible for any violation of the rights of others.

Owner of work can also apply to the SAIP for modification of already registered work. It is important to mention that under Saudi Copyright law, if the work consists of several parts or volumes, published separately or over a period of time, each part or volume shall be considered an independent work for the purposes of the computation of its protection period. In such case, the work should be recorded as a new work in accordance with procedure as prescribed.

The application for registration will be submitted to the SAIP electronically and must include the compulsory data as prescribed by regulations.

It is important to mention here that Saudi Copyright law provides protection to works of Saudi and Non-Saudi authors and the duration of protection depends on type of work.

In case of natural author(s), the period of protection is the duration of the life time of authors and for a period of 50 years following death of author. In joint works, the post-death 50 years period will be calculated from the death of last surviving author.

For legal person such as a Corporate owner, the protection period of 50 years starts from date of first publication of work.

For anonymous works, the protection period is 50 years from the date of first publication unless the author is known before the end of protection period in which case the protection period will extend to the life of author and 50 years post-death.

Although Computer Program falls in literary work as mandated by WTO-TRIPS agreement, under Saudi Copyright law the standard rule of protection does not apply to it. The Protection period for Computer Programs is 50 years from the date of the first publication of the work.

SAIP will issue a Copyright registration certificate to the applicants after formal examination.

The record of registration can be removed only by a decision of Chief Executive of SAIP or through a decision of Saudi court. The reference to a decision by a competent court is probably a reference to challenging the registered Copyrights. It seems that the aggrieved party may, upon knowledge of such registration, apply for cancellation of registration. Although Saudi Copyright law does not have such procedure due to absence of registration procedure, however since the decision of Chief Executive of SAIP will be considered as an administrative decision, aggrieved parties should be entitled to appeal the decision under general Saudi law.

The official fee for Copyright registration is nominal and ranges from Saudi Riyal 50 to Saudi Riyal 400 i.e. USD 15 to USD 110.

This regulation is a very good development and we expect that SAIP will receive good number of applications for Computer softwares. This regulation will be effective from December 20, 2019.

For further information, please contact following:

Mohammad Jomoa, CEO Kadasa IP

 Asif Iqbal, Head IP-Legal