Business risks

Australian companies are advised to spend time investigating the market, obtain professional advice where appropriate and thoroughly investigate the issues in entering the market and before establishing business relationships.

Australian firms wishing to operate in this market should commit to the highest level of corporate behaviour and familiarise themselves with Australia's laws and penalties pertaining to bribery of foreign officials.

Bribery of foreign public officials is a crime. Australian individuals and companies can be prosecuted in Australia for bribing foreign officials when overseas. Further information on the regulations governing bribery of foreign public officials is available.

For further information on frauds, scams, personal and asset security, intellectual property protection and other business risks please read more about legal issues.

Intellectual property protection

Kuwait became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 1997. Patent law is now unified across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Applications are handled by the GCC patent office in Riyadh. Trademark registrations are valid for periods of ten years and are perpetually renewable, subject to an annuity. Kuwait is not a party to international conventions regarding copyright.

Dispute resolution

Kuwait is a civil jurisdiction with a three tiered court system. Disputes are typically litigated publically in the courts; however, alternative dispute resolution procedures are also available. Law number 11/1995 established a formal arbitration process, with an authority at the Court of Appeals consisting of three judges and appointed arbitrators. The Kuwaiti Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) also administer arbitration and conciliation according to its own regulations. The Kuwait Society of Engineers provides a similar service for construction industry matters. These alternatives to litigation are becoming increasingly popular as commercial relations become more globalised and complex.