News

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Trademark Office in Iraq announced that trademark applications may be filed in Latin script without having to submit the Arabic transliteration of the mark. This update rescinds the previous registration requirement that demanded trademarks to be filed in Arabic alongside the Latin version, which provided for the protection of the transliteration of a registered mark without having to file a separate application for it.

With the new procedure in place at the TMO, it becomes advisable to register the transliteration of the mark in Arabic. However, transliteration into the Arabic script is not without challenges. Certain letters have no equivalent in the Arabic language, such as the letters V and P. Common practice is to either substitute the letter with the next best option (F for V and B for P), or to borrow letters from the Persian alphabet, which is the closest to Arabic and is widely understood by the Arabic-speaking public. It is therefore imperative to register the correct Arabic version of a mark in order to ensure that consumers have clear visibility as to the origin of the goods or services, and eventually to be able to build up brand equity in Iraq.

Another advantage of registering the Arabic transliteration of the mark is that it may mitigate problems that would arise when it comes to enforcing trademark rights against third parties using or attempting to register confusingly similar Arabic transliterations. It is worth noting that it is easier to enforce marks in the same language—Arabic, in this case.

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