EGYPT IP GUIDENorth Africa

Intellectual Property Egypt
The Arab Republic of Egypt, traditionally known as Egypt, is located in north-eastern Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, by Israel and the Red Sea to the east, by Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Area: 1 001 450 km2

Population 93,902,000

Capital: Cairo

Currency: Egyptian Pound

GDP: $235.4 billion (2015)

Trade Marks

Egypt is a member of the Paris Convention, the Madrid Agreement and Protocol, and the WTO/TRIPS.

Provision is made for the registration of trade marks for goods and services and for collective marks and certification marks. There is no specific provision for defensive marks.

Trade mark applications may be filed as national applications, in appropriate circumstances claiming priority in terms of the Paris Convention; or Egypt may be designated in international applications in terms of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol.

Patents

Egypt is a member of the Paris Convention, the PCT and the WTO/TRIPS. The deadline for entering the PCT national phase in Egypt is 30 months from the earliest priority date.

Patent protection may be obtained by way of a national filing, claiming priority in appropriate circumstances, or by way of an international application under PCT designating Egypt.

Designs

Egypt is a member of the Paris Convention and the Hague Agreement and the WTO/TRIPS. Design protection is obtainable via a national filing; since Egypt is a member of the Paris Convention, priority can be claimed.

Egypt is also a signatory to the Hague Agreement which allows for international registration of industrial designs. Egypt became a signatory to the Hague Agreement in 1952, but it is not clear if Egypt’s national laws recognise international registrations designating Egypt, as this issue has not been tested by the courts.

Copyright

Egypt is a member of the Berne Convention, the Phonograms Convention, and the WTO/TRIPS.

The law confers copyright on the authors of literary and artistic works. A work is defined to mean any literary, artistic or scientific creation of whatever type or mode of expression. The creative aspect refers to the originality of the work. The following works are specifically included:

  • books, articles, bulletins and any other written works
  • computer programs
  • databases, whether readable by computer or otherwise
  • lectures, speeches, sermons and other oral works
  • dramatic and dramatic-musical works
  • musical works
  • audiovisual works
  • works of architecture
  • drawings, sculpture, lithography
  • photographic works
  • works of applied art
  • derivative works.

Derivative works are derived from existing works, such as translations, re-arrangements, compilations, and collections of expressions of folklore.

Plant Breeders' Rights

Egypt is not a member of the UPOV Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.

Plant Breeders’ Rights can be obtained in Egypt. The effect of the protection is that the plant breeder’s right holder has an exclusive right to commercial exploitation of the protected variety in any form whatsoever. No production, propagation, circulation, sale, marketing, importing, or exporting of propagating material is allowed without the written consent of the plant breeder’s right holder.

Company Law

There are three forms of companies commonly used by foreign investors:

  • Joint stock companies (JSC), which are utilised in instances where there is major investment involved. JSCs have more organised management structures and more stringent corporate governance requirements than other forms of companies.
  • Limited liability companies, usually formed for small projects that do not require major financing.
  • Partnerships limited by shares (PLS) are partnerships that require 1 or more partners to assume unlimited liability. The partners’ liabilities are limited to their respective capital contributions in the form of shares.

Competition Law

The executive Regulations on Protection of Competition and Prohibition of Monopolistic Practice Law no. 3 of 2005.

The Act is enforced by the Authority for the Protection of Competition and the Prohibition of Monopolistic Practices, based in Giza.

Consumer Protection

Consumer protection is regulated by Egypt’s Consumer Protection Law, 2006 (CPAL).

In terms of the CPAL consumers have certain essential rights and a consumer may not enter into any contract or be involved in any activity which may prejudice such rights.

Data Protection

At present Egypt does not have any official data protection legislation. Rather, data protection is regulated, to the extent that same is required, by means of various other legislative provisions.

These provisions vary from sector to sector and set out obligations relating to, among other things, employee information, information on money laundering investigations, capital markets data and banking secrecy provisions.

Dispute Resolution

The highest judicial power is the Supreme Constitutional Court, with jurisdiction over the constitutionality of laws and regulations, jurisdictional disputes between the legal bodies or authorities, disputes arising through contradictory rulings and the interpretation of laws. The Court of Cassation (Mahkmat El Naqd) is approached when there is a breach of law.

Employment Law

Governing legislation

Labour Law No. 12 of 2003; Article 674-698 of Law No 13/1948 (Egyptian Civil Code).

Particulars of employment

An employment agreement must be in writing, provide for a probation period (maximum period is 3 months) and a detailed description of the essential duties and liabilities of the parties.

Forms of contracts

  • Contracts for an unspecified period.
  • Contracts for a specified period or specific work terminates on expiry of the period or completion of the work.

Exchange Control

There are no strict exchange control regulations that apply in Egypt. Banking laws grant all natural persons and legal entities the absolute freedom to maintain currency and conclude transactions in foreign currency, including the transfer of such currencies from and into Egypt, provided that such transactions are executed through banks or other entities authorised to deal in foreign currency.

Entities authorised to deal in foreign exchange include banks licensed to operate in Egypt, which are permitted to buy foreign currency for their own account and on behalf of third parties. Banking law permits the establishment of foreign exchange dealers that are authorised to buy and sell foreign currency for their own account.

Tax Law

Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income whilst non-resident companies are taxed on their Egyptian source profits. Foreign tax paid overseas may be deducted from Egyptian income tax payable, but the deduction may not exceed the total tax payable in Egypt.