Bahrain - Protecting Intellectual PropertyBahrain - Protecting IP
In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property. For background on these principles, please link to our articles on Protecting Intellectual Property (www.export.gov/article?id=Protecting-Intellectual-Property) and Corruption (www.export.gov/article?id=Corruption).
Under the U.S.-Bahrain FTA, the Bahraini Government committed to enforce world-class intellectual property rights (IPR) protections. The Bahraini Government has signed the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The Bahraini Government ratified revised legislation to implement Bahrain's obligations under the WTO/TRIPS Agreement in 2006. The Bahraini Government has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and was ranked the 44th country on the World’s Economic Forum 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Index. The Bahraini Government also has passed laws designed to bring Bahrain's local legislative framework into compliance with its Paris Convention commitments.
- Trademarks Law No. 11 of 2006
- Patents and Utility Models Law No. 1 of 2004, as amended by Law 14 of 2006
- Industrial Design Law No. 6 of 2006
- Designs of Integrated Circuits Law No. 5 of 2006
- Copyright and Neighboring Rights Law No. 22 of 2006
- Trade Secrets Law No. 7 of 2003, as amended by Law No. 35 of 2005.
There are no technology transfer requirements that require firms to share or divulge technology through compulsory licensing to a domestic partner, nor are firms required to undertake research and development activities in Bahrain.
For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at www.wipo.int/directory/en/.
Several general principles are important for effective management of intellectual property rights in Bahrain:
- First, it is important to have an overall strategy to protect your IPR.
- Second, IPR may be protected differently in Bahrain than in the United States.
- Third, rights must be registered and enforced in Bahrain, under local laws.
There are no specialized IPR courts in Bahrain. However, various administrative and judicial methods protect and enforce rights of intellectual property holders. Intellectual property rights holders may file a petition with the court to stop or prevent infringement. Infringers found guilty by the court are punishable by fine and/or imprisonment, and any counterfeit goods identified will be seized and destroyed.
While the U.S. Government stands ready to assist, little can be done if the rights holders have not taken the fundamental steps necessary to secure and enforce their intellectual property in a timely fashion. Moreover, in many countries, rights holders who delay enforcing their rights on a mistaken belief that the USG can provide a political resolution to a legal problem may find that their rights have been eroded or abrogated due to legal doctrines such as statutes of limitations, laches, estoppel, or unreasonable delay in prosecuting a lawsuit. In no instance should U.S. Government advice be seen as a substitute for the responsibility of a rights holder to pursue its case promptly.
It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential partners. A good partner is an important ally in protecting IPR. Consider carefully, however, whether to permit your partner to register your IPR on your behalf. Doing so may create a risk that your partner will list itself as the IPR owner and fail to transfer the rights should the partnership end. Keep an eye on your cost structure and reduce the margins (and the incentive) of would-be bad actors. Work with legal counsel familiar with Bahrain laws to create a solid contract that includes non-compete clauses and confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions.
Small and medium-sized enterprises should work together with trade associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IPR and prevent counterfeiting. There are a number of such organizations, both Bahrain and U.S. based. These include the:
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce (www.uschamber.com) and local American Chambers of Commerce
- National Association of Manufacturers (www.nam.org)
- International Intellectual Property Alliance (https://iipa.org)
- International Trademark Association (www.inta.org/Pages/Home.aspx)
- The Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy (https://acacap.org)
- International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (www.iacc.org)
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (https://www.phrma.org)
- Biotechnology Industry Organization (www.bio.org); and
- Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance.(www.aaa.co.ae).
Bahrain Trade Development and Promotion Intellectual Property