Saudi intellectual property authority confiscates, destroys millions of products in violation of laws 

The sectors targeted by the campaigns included video, electronics, computer maintenance and students’ services stores. (SPA)
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Updated 04 March 2021

Saudi intellectual property authority confiscates, destroys millions of products in violation of laws 

JEDDAH: The Saudi Authority of Intellectual Property (SAIP) announced that it has confiscated and destroyed more than 5.5 million items in 2020 that were found to be violating the country’s intellectual property (IP) regulations.
“These items included pirated DVDs, CDs and books; and illegal desktops, laptops, hard disks, memory chips, TV satellite boxes and CD-copying devices. We also cooperated with Saudi Customs to seize and destroy more than 2 million counterfeited products. These included shoes, clothes, mobile accessories, sanitary ware and car filters, all bearing well-known trademarks from major international companies,” said Yasser Al-Debassi, executive director of IP Respect at SAIP.
SAIP seeks to improve the protection of IP by developing its enforcement system, ensuring the quality of its operations and increasing transparency between itself and the private sector.
In its recently released 2020 report, SAIP said that it had received 67 cases directly from plaintiffs, who reported their complaints to the authority.
It added that 115 cases were conducted through inspection visits to websites. Over 300 cases were conducted through other online inspections, while 42 cases were referred to SAIP by the Ministry of Media.
The report revealed that most of the IP infringements occurred in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with a rate of 61 percent. Makkah ranked second with 24 percent, while the Eastern Province came third with 14 percent.
The remaining 9 percent of violations took place in other Saudi cities. However, the report said, some complaints were dismissed for “uncompleted requirements.”
The report added that most cases were art-related, involving the infringement of rights for photographs, audio, videos, and designs. Literary cases and research formed 25 percent of the total number of cases, while software infringement cases reached 12 percent.
a responded to more than 5,790 emails and phone calls, reporting violations through its different communication channels.
It confirmed in its report that 119 resolutions were issued by the copyright committee, assigned to review violations of the copyright law.
“The IP Respect surveillance team has visited and examined over 1,350 websites and detected 308 violated websites. It filed the cases to the Permanent Internet Committee, who ruled that these websites be blocked,” Al-Debassi told Arab News. “Fines of more than SR255,000 ($68,000) were imposed on the violators. The violations ranged from literary works to sports TV broadcasting.”
The authority launched online inspection campaigns to block the websites, which, without permission from right owners, either posted copyrighted photos and graphics on social media platforms; exhibited copies of copyrighted books and magazines; and allowed for the viewing and download of copyrighted series, movies or pirated software.
SAIP also launched copyright-enforcement campaigns in Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar, and Al-Ahsa, with the aim of stopping all infringement activities and copyright-related violations in computer software and programs, satellite broadcasting, and printed or audiovisual materials.
The sectors targeted by the campaigns included video, electronics, computer maintenance and students’ services stores, which provide document-copying services.
“SAIP is currently working on tracking new piracy trends and addressing the challenges facing industries. It is doing its best to ensure compliance with IP laws and regulations in the Kingdom in order to maintain an attractive business environment,” Al-Debassi said.
SAIP has launched a number of initiatives at the national level, including a national enforcement committee for IP.
It is also working closely with its partners in the private sector, global associations and IP protection offices to fight piracy.
“SAIP has partnered with right holders to combat counterfeiting. We have conducted meetings with our partners from tech companies, such as Microsoft, to discuss the latest methods of piracy for its software and operating systems. The authority has also met with media company OSN to discuss the challenge of illegal Internet Protocol television boxes and subscriptions,” Al-Debassi added.
 

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King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

Updated 14 April 2021

King Salman offers Ramadan wishes, orders best services for pilgrims

RIYADH: King Salman on Tuesday offered his best wishes to the Muslim world on the first day of the fasting month of Ramadan. 
The comments came as the king chaired the weekly government meeting virtually. 
He also instructed that pilgrims be given the best possible services during the holy month, which for a second year will be observed under strict protocols to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus. 

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Muslims perform first Tarawih prayer at Saudi Arabia's Two Holy Mosques

Updated 13 April 2021

Muslims perform first Tarawih prayer at Saudi Arabia's Two Holy Mosques

  • Only vaccinated or immune worshippers will be allowed to enter the Two Holy Mosques
  • Tarawih and Qiyaam prayers will be combined with the Isha prayer in all mosques across the Kingdom

RIYADH: Worshippers performed the first Tarawih prayer at the Two Holy Mosques on Monday amid strict COVID-19 measures.
King Salman issued a decision on Sunday approving the evening prayer in mosques across the Kingdom during the month of Ramadan, but that they be reduced and combined with the Isha prayer.
Only vaccinated or immune worshippers will be allowed to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah and those who do not have a permit will face a hefty fine in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques said it had intensified disinfection and sterilization operations, and is distributing single-use Zamzam water bottles to the prayer halls, areas, squares and to visitors, in general.
The authority said it had recruited more than 100 personnel to welcome worshippers at entrances and direct them to designated places and installed screening points. Thermal cameras have been set up to detect any signs of illness among those entering the mosques.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said it has completed all preparations for the Muslim holy month. The program includes a number of projects, namely distributing dates through Islamic centers and religious attaches in a number of countries, the King Salman break fast initiative in 16 countries, campaigns to limit the spread of the coronavirus in mosques, as well as a series of virtual lectures throughout the month.
The ministry also issued a circular to all mosques, calling on imams and muezzins to commit the Maghrib and Isha prayers to a two-hour period throughout Ramadan. It also said that the waiting period between the call to prayer and Iqama (the start of the prayer) will be 10 minutes, except for the Fajr prayer, which will be 20 minutes.


Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization

Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi female elected first president of Digital Cooperation Organization

  • It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia was elected president of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) and Saudi national Deemah Alyahya was appointed the first secretary-general of the organization during its first meeting on Monday.
The organization also approved the accession of Nigeria and Oman to the organization as founding members.
The first five members of DCO included Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan.
The seven member states constitute an economic bloc worth $2 trillion of the global gross domestic product.
The first meeting was chaired by Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha. Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Communication Union, GCC Secretary-General Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf, World Economic Forum President Borge Brende and representatives of different UN programs also attended the meeting.
The meeting approved several initiatives including establishment of a center to boost coordination on transfer of data, women’s empowerment and promotion of small and medium enterprises with a focus on digital transformation.
The DCO aims to strengthen collaboration among member nations as they adapt to a global economy increasingly defined by technological innovation.
Through this initiative, the member states could establish solid cooperation in the emerging fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, IoT, big data, 5G, cloud computing, and blockchain.
It is estimated that by 2025 the global digital economy will be worth $23 trillion with a GDP share of 24.3 percent. This provides the DCO with a great opportunity to build a platform for their tech-savvy youth, women, entrepreneurs, and indigenous industry to flourish and compete with their global contemporaries and boost their digital competitiveness.
In addition, member states can harness their expertise and share experience to strengthen efforts for preparing for global crises such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.


Hajj ministry announces guidelines for Umrah, Ramadan prayers

Updated 12 April 2021

Hajj ministry announces guidelines for Umrah, Ramadan prayers

  • Taraweeh, Qiyam prayers should not exceed 30 minutes in all mosques
  • Prayer permits will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, Hajj ministry says

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has set guidelines and protocols for issuing Umrah and prayer permits for the month of Ramadan. 
Vaccinations are at the top of the priority list as no worshippers are allowed into either Makkah’s Grand Mosque or Madinah’s Prophet’s Mosque without having received at least one dose of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.
Permits will only be allowed through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps, and will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, as the latest Tawkkalna update has designated each category with a color code and barcode specific to their health status.
Unauthorized vehicles will not be allowed in the central region around Makkah, and visitors must arrive on time or risk losing their time slot.
Children will not be allowed to enter either mosques, nor the courtyards around the mosques.

HIGHLIGHT

Permits will only be allowed through the Tawakkalna and Eatmarna apps, and will not be provided for unvaccinated individuals, as the latest Tawkkalna update has designated each category with a color code and barcode specific to their health status.

The Ministry of Interior issued a warning that a SR10,000 ($26,671) fine will be issued to pilgrims wishing to perform Umrah without permits, and a SR1,000 fine for worshippers trying to enter the mosques without one.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance issued a statement saying that Taraweeh and Qiyam prayers should not exceed 30 minutes in all mosques in the Kingdom. This comes after King Salman issued a decision to permit Taraweeh prayers in the two holy mosques and reduce them to five tasleemat.
The ministry reminded people for the need to follow the preventive measures to ensure the safety, health and security of those visiting the two holy mosques.


Ramadan 2021 will start on Tuesday: Saudi Arabia

Updated 13 April 2021

Ramadan 2021 will start on Tuesday: Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Nearly 2 billion Muslims worldwide will mark the first day of Ramadan on Tuesday after an official sighting of the new crescent moon, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court said on Monday evening.

The court extended its best wishes to King Salman, the crown prince, citizens and expatriates in the Kingdom, and all Muslims on the advent of the holy month.

For a second year, Ramadan in Saudi Arabia will be observed under coronavirus precautions.

“The month of Ramadan is upon us and the world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic,” King Salman said.

“We thank God for the scientific efforts in developing vaccines to curb the pandemic.”

READ MORE

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman approves Tarawih prayers in Two Holy Mosques Read more here.

Preventive measures remain in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus during Ramadan. Only vaccinated or immune worshippers will be allowed to enter the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and pilgrims who try to perform Umrah at the Grand Mosque in Makkah without a permit will face a fine of up to 10,000 riyals.

Nevertheless, with more than 6 million people already vaccinated, more people will be able to attend the holy sites than a year ago, and many Saudi families are looking forward to a more “normal” Ramadan after a year of restrictions.

READ MORE

Hajj Ministry announce Ramadan guidelines for Umrah and prayers Read more here.

Rahaf Hussain and her husband Abdullah Al-Rashidi both have families in Jeddah but live in the Eastern Province. They have made it their mission this Ramadan to spend as much holiday time together as they can for the sake of their children.

The couple have planned careful iftar gatherings of no more than 20 people this year, in line with official recommendations.

“This year, we plan on a COVID-free Ramadan,” Hussain told Arab News. “We got our vaccines, and we are still wearing masks and constantly washing our hands.

“We were deprived of our families, and we lost some dear ones. Our Ramadan gatherings last year were spent on screens, but I’m making sure that won’t happen this year. We’re sticking to the rules.”

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