Worldwide: IP Regional Update – August 2016

Last Updated: 22 August 2016
Article by Clyde & Co LLP

Market updates and insights from around the region. This month we report on news from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Yemen and the UAE.

Bahrain

Bahrain trade mark office closure

The Bahrain Trade Mark and Patent Office will be closed from Tuesday 17 August 2016 until Tuesday 23 August 2016. The reason for the closure is the relocation of the office (to Bahrain Financial Harbour Tower, 5th Floor).

The Office has not issued any statement regarding deadlines which fall due during the period of closure. It is therefore necessary to work on the basis that deadlines will fall due as normal during the period of closure and that they will need to be met before the closure.

Egypt

Import controls impact brand owners

Following the issuance of Decree No. 43 of 2016 in March 2016, restrictions have applied to the importation goods into Egypt that require brand owners to register information regarding their products with the General Organisation for Export and Import Control (GOEIC).

This Decree specifically prohibits certain goods from being imported into Egypt unless they are:

a) produced by factories which are registered with GOEIC and the factories have a trade mark licence which allows them to manufacture and sell the imported goods under the trade mark; or

b) exported from overseas, into Egypt by companies registered with GOEIC and which own the trade mark under which the products will be imported and sold in Egypt. In cases where a foreign manufacturer / brand owner owns the trade mark, that foreign manufacturer / brand owner must identify the distribution centres or factories which are licensed to supply the goods bearing the trade mark, and those centres or factories must be able to demonstrate quality certification (such as ISO certification).

Over the past few months since the Decree came into force, the process for obtaining a registration with GOEIC has become smoother. However, it still takes time to obtain the necessary documentation to support such a registration, and brand owners who wish to import products are should start the application process with GOEIC sooner rather than later to avoid products being held by the Egyptian Customs authorities.

Iraq

New trade mark filing and recordal procedures in Iraq

The Iraq Trade Marks Office has issued new regulations which came into effect in March 2016 in relation to the submission of supporting documents when filing trade mark applications or recording assignments, changes of name / address, mergers or licenses. These changes include:

  • a requirement that the necessary supporting documents be submitted at the time of filing the recordal application when recording assignments, changes of name / address, mergers or licenses. Under the previous practice, it was possible to submit any supporting documents at a later date;
  • for new trade mark applications, a grace period of six months from the filing date for the late filing of a Power of Attorney;
  • the removal of the requirement to provide a transliteration of non-Arabic trade marks for new trade mark applications;
  • a mandatory requirement to submit a search request for each mark in each class (even if the mark is filed as a multi-class application), after payment of the applicable official fees, prior to filing a trade mark application; and
  • notification is to be provided to applicants where sub-classes are refused.

Iraq

Revised requirements for trade mark applications in class 5

The Iraq Trade Mark Office has issued a revised set of requirements for trade mark applications in class 5. As a result of these new requirements, applicants (including those with pending applications) must now provide the following information for applications relating to pharmaceutical, veterinary, and sanitary preparations for medical purposes:

a) the international non-proprietary name of the product to which the application relates;

b) the name of manufacturer;

c) the name of distributor; and

d) a drug formulation / dosage form.

This information is to be reviewed by the Ministry of Health and applications can be rejected if the required information has not been provided.

Kuwait

Kuwait Trade Mark Office removes publication fees for renewals, assignments, and change of name / address

Our corresponding agent has reported that the Kuwaiti Trade Mark Office is no longer accepting payment of publication charges for renewals, assignments and change of name / address applications. Consequently, these items are no longer being republished in the Official Gazette.

Kuwait

New Copyright Law issued

Kuwait has issued a new Copyright Law in the form of Law No. 22 of 2016.

Kuwait's previous Copyright Law (No. 64 of 1999) has been the subject of long-standing criticism, from the US in particular. Since 2014, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has maintained Kuwait on its Priority Watch List in its annual review of the state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement around the world (known as the Special 301 Report).

The inclusion of Kuwait on the USTR's Priority Watch List indicates that it has identified particular problems exist in that country with respect to the protection or enforcement of intellectual property rights. In its latest Special 301 Report, the USTR stated that:

"Kuwait remains on the Priority Watch List in 2016. Kuwait was elevated from the Watch List ... because Kuwait failed to introduce to the National Assembly a copyright law consistent with international standards, and had not resumed effective enforcement against copyright and trademark infringement. Although Kuwaiti officials initially took steps to resume enforcement ... effective enforcement actions have reportedly significantly decreased since June 2015, particularly against trade in counterfeit goods. The United States awaits improvements in copyright and trademark enforcement and the passage of long-overdue copyright legislation that is consistent with Kuwait's international commitments. The United States stands ready to work with Kuwait toward resolving these important issues."

We will be reporting more detail on the contents of Law No. 22 of 2016, and whether it addresses the USTR's concerns, in the next edition of our newsletter

Kuwait

Kuwait repeals national patent law and implements GCC patent law

Kuwait has implemented Law No. 71 of 2013, the effect of which is:

a) to repeal Kuwait national Patent Law (Law No. 4 of 1962); and

b) to implement the GCC Patent Law in Kuwait, together with the Bylaws to the GCC Patent Law.

As a consequence of Law No. 71 of 2013, the Patent Office in Kuwait is no longer accepting new patent applications.

The full impact of Law No. 71 of 2013, in particular on patent filing strategies in Kuwait and the GCC, will be discussed in the next edition of our newsletter.

Kuwait

Kuwait joins the PCT

Kuwait will become bound by the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) on 9 September 2016.

On 27 March 2016, Kuwait approved the ratification of the PCT by issuing Law No. 11 of 2016. Then, on 9 June 2016, Kuwait deposited its instrument of accession to the PCT. In taking this step, Kuwait became the 149th Contracting State of the PCT.

Oman

Patent applications undergo substantive examination by Egyptian Patent Office

The Oman Patent Office has announced that all patent applications filed between 2011 and 2012 are to be sent to the Egypt Patent Office for substantive examination.

Applicants with patents filed between 2011 and 2012 have been directed to file an official request for the substantive examination and pay the examination fees (OMR 300 / USD 800).

Oman

Trade names to be registered in Arabic

Pursuant to Ministerial Decision No 124/2016 issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) on 27 April 2016, trade names to be registered with the MOCI must be either original Arabic words or translated into Arabic and cannot contain foreign words. The MOCI may reject a proposed trade name or change an existing trade name that is non-compliant.

This rule does not apply to subsidiaries of international companies registered in Oman, joint Omani-foreign companies or wholly foreign-owned firms.

Other prohibited trade names include those bearing political, religious or military connotations or are consistent with the names of existing social or charitable organisations, and trade names containing the word 'Oman' or 'Omaniyah'.

Qatar

Patents complaint committee to be formed

A committee is to be formed in Qatar to review decisions of the Qatar Patent Office, and to examine patent application procedures. The committee is to be led by the Patents Unit Director of Registration at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce.

UAE

Dubai launches IP Gateway

Dubai's Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced that, with effect from September 2016, all procedures relating to trade mark issues will be automated through a new Intellectual Property Gateway.

The DED is a government body responsible for the economic agenda of the emirate of Dubai in the UAE. As part of its broad remit, the DED deals with a range of issues including the classification of economic activities permitted within Dubai, issuing trade licences and the administrative enforcement of intellectual property rights. The IP Gateway is set to play a central role in last of these roles – the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The IP Gateway is an online portal, which is to operate as follows:

  • The first step is for a trade mark owner, or its local representative in Dubai, to set up a profile on the IP Gateway;
  • Once a profile has been created, the user can create a record of any trade marks it wishes by uploading a copy of the certificate of registration for the mark (and an appropriate Power of Attorney); and
  • Once the record has been accepted by the DED, the DED will monitor for infringements of the recorded trade mark;
  • The DED will then issue notifications through the IP Gateway in relation to any potential trade mark infringements identified by its officials. Also, the trade mark owner can notify the DED of any infringements that it has identified by uploading a complaint through the IP Gateway.

It is intended that all communications between the DED and users of the IP Gateway will take place through the Gateway. However, for specific matters (for example when making arrangements to raid an infringer's premises) we expect that direct communications with the DED will still be possible.

Also, it is important to note that the DED has indicated that when it issues notifications of infringements through the IP Gateway, it does not intend to provide information on quantities. This is to encourage all infringements to be acted upon, not just those with larger quantities.

At the same time as introducing the IP Gateway, a new schedule of official fees will apply. For further information, please speak with your contact in the Clyde IP team, or email ip@clydeco.com.

UAE

UAE signs MoU with the Korean Intellectual Property Office

It has been reported that the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding worth approximately USD 4.5 million with the UAE Ministry of Economy in order to implement KIPO's patent automation system.

This system is designed to manage the online processing of patent and design applications, examinations, registrations, and fee payments in the UAE.

Yemen

Class headings no longer used

The General Department for Intellectual Property in Yemen issued a notice that class headings in trade mark applications are no longer accepted. Instead, applicants should only specify individual goods / services.

IP Regional Update – August 2016

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