Qatar recently issued Law No. 10 of 2020 on the Protection of Industrial Designs in an effort to expand the intellectual property scene in the country. Prior to the issuance of the Law, some sort of protection could be sought out by publishing cautionary notices at regular intervals in local Qatari newspapers. Such notices could have legal value when submitted in Court, in the event of infringement, thereby claiming ownership of the design and alerting third parties against further infringement.

Before the issuance of the aforementioned legislation, only limited provision was made for industrial designs in Law No. 9 of 2002, which provided that industrial designs would have the same protections as trademarks. Additionally, the Law did not define what an industrial design was, whereas the new Law does offer a robust definition.

The new Law stipulates that an application for the registration of an industrial design can be submitted by the rights owner at the Industrial Property Office (IPO). Applications will be examined within 30 days from filing date and oppositions may be filed within 60 days by interested third parties.

None of the following can be registered as industrial designs in Qatar: (1) designs or models serving the technical and functional features of a product; (2) designs or models comprising religious symbols and logos, or seals, emblems, symbols or flags relating to any country or international organization or contrary to public order; or (3) designs or models identical or similar to a registered or famous trademark.

Protection for industrial designs is granted for a term of 5 years and is renewable for two like periods upon payment of the renewal fees. The Law allows for late renewal which is contingent upon the submission of a proof of an excusable reason and the payment of a surcharge.

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