Online Patent Search in the MENA Region – Accessible and Surprising 

By Nachum Shiloh 

Patent search is one of the most important components in Business Intelligence activity. Companies and inventors who are about to invest their money and resources in developing new patents and technologies must verify first that there isn’t any similar or even identical patent registered somewhere around the globe. Performing this verification means searching and inquiring in the relevant patent offices.
Until recently, performing such a verification process required the inventors and their legal representatives to approach the specific patent office physically or to hire a local attorney specializing in intellectual property and patent detection. As internet capabilities evolved, a large portion of this information body became available online. Patent offices around the world launched their own searchable databases and Google, the most powerful search engine, initiated Google Patents Search, which enables us to perform an efficient search for patents, especially through the patent offices of the United States, Canada,  the European Union, Germany and China.
In the MENA region, patent search is becoming more and more accessible online. One of the most effective and popular Arab patent bureaus is the unified Patent Office of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, with a very friendly search engine, which brings results from the patent offices of all six GCC states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. In addition, the website of King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) offers us another good patent search engine, which is not limited to the GCC states.
In Egypt, the online patent office, with its searchable database in both Arabic and English can be found under the website of the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology. In Morocco, the country’s Industrial and Commercial Property Office offers us a searchable database in three languages: French, Arabic and English.  In both cases, the proper websites direct us also to the relevant intellectual, industrial and commercial legislation.

Searchable databases of intellectual property exist and function not only in stable and prosperous countries in the MENA region, but also in failed states. In Yemen, for example, the General Department of Intellectual Property Protection operates a quite effective searchable patent database on the internet. In Syria, the relevant bureau, the Syrian Patent Office, offers a good patent search engine in Arabic.
Friendly online patent search databases are accessible also in non-Arab countries in the MENA region. In Israel the data is provided by the Israeli Patent Office’s database and in Turkey this service is provided by the Turkish Patent Institute. In both cases search can be conducted  also in English.