An examination of the intellectual property regimes in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states and a series of recommendations to develop an integrated approach to intellectual property rights
KeywordInternational intellectual property
Gulf Co-operation Council
Intellectual property rights protection recommendations
Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights
International trade agreements
The University of Bradford theses are licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentFaculty of Management and Law
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AbstractThis thesis aims to examine the intellectual property regimes in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states and assess the relationships between legislation, enforcement mechanisms and sharia law. The GCC states, currently Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, all have varied mechanisms in place for both the implementation and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The thesis pays close attention to the evolution of intellectual property laws and regulations in the GCC states with particular interest directed towards the development of national intellectual property laws within the GCC states from the 1970’s onwards1. Intellectual property protection in the GCC states is considered from two perspectives. The first perspective addresses the international demand for higher standards of intellectual property protection in the GCC states. The second perspective defines intellectual property within the laws of Islam and explores the relationship between Islam and intellectual property. The latter part analyses religious influence, societal and cultural norms, economic reality and the developmental stage of each GCC state. It is an important area of study as developing Muslim countries are struggling with meeting international standards and a successful integrated framework will impact not only on GCC states but other Islamic states and as a result could potentially lead to more informed negotiation in trade agreements with developed states. The research argues there are systematic flaws in the GCC states adopting intellectual property laws which are in essence a procrustean modification of foreign laws which have developed from colonial occupation or laws taken from donor countries. The GCC legal systems of the states have evolved utilising different sets of legal principles and therefore it could be argued the foreign laws that have been adopted are somewhat unsuitable for the GCC states. The research has focused on the implications of the national and international legislative regimes on the protection of intellectual property rights on the GCC states. Consideration is given to compliance, mainly how compliant the GCC is to its World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership and Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIP’s) Agreement and to what extent the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) influence the intellectual property protection regimes in the GCC. The research has examined the development of the GCC in three distinct stages; pre-TRIPS, TRIPS compliance stage and TRIPS plus. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the somewhat simplistic formula of the GCC states passing a large number of intellectual property laws to appease the EU and US does not have the significant economic impact on the GCC economy as the international agreements would suggest. Not all trade is intellectual property related and not all foreign direct investment is contingent upon intellectual property protection. However, as the GCC states are largely oil dependent, they do need to diversify their trade and as such an intellectual property protection model that accounts for international intellectual property law and the bespoke cultural and religious views amongst GCC citizens can produce tangible results for both the GCC and its trading partners. What sets the research apart from previous research is two-fold. Firstly, the research is qualitative and has scratched beneath the surface of intellectual property law in the GCC and examined in detail the Islamic law principles that have been used to justify sharia compliance, the western perspective on international intellectual property and the impact of multilateral trade agreements. Secondly, the analysis of Islamic finance and the application of successful sharia compliant models in Islamic finance to intellectual property is innovative as it acts as a springboard to creating a modified sharia compliant intellectual property protection model. Finally, the thesis will conclude by making a series of recommendations to develop an integrated approach to intellectual property rights which takes into account; the structure of the GCC states, international agreements and pressures, the international institutions, Islamic finance and both societal and religious views.
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