News & insights

GCC Trademark Law Approved in Qatar and UAE

August 1, 2007

The governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates announced their approval of the unified GCC trademark law which was enacted on December 10, 2006 during the 27th summit of the GCC’s Supreme Council (Qatar: Decree no. 18/2007; UAE: Federal Decree no. 52/2007). The 50-article law outlines the general directives and rulings governing trademark registration, renewal, assignment, and cancellation procedures in the countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates).

The main purpose of the GCC trademark law is to replace the local trademark laws of each of the GCC member states thereby promulgating unified implementing regulations for trademark protection in all member states. However, the GCC trademark law does not offer a unified filing system as is the case with the GCC patent law. Trademark applications will continue to be filed separately in each of the GCC member states for protection. The GCC trademark law will only be effective once it is ratified by the individual member states and the relating implementing regulations are drafted and issued by the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee (made up of the Trade Ministers of the member states).

Main Features of the GCC Trademark Law
1. The definition of a trademark has been broadened to include sound and smell marks.
2. A trademark may be individual or collective.
3. A separate application is required for each class.
4. Claim of priority, based on a foreign application filed earlier, is possible.
5. Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar will be published for opposition purposes. Oppositions must be filed within 60 days from publication date.
6. Trademark registrations are valid for 10 years from filing date and are renewable for like periods. There is a grace period of six months for late renewals.
7. A trademark is vulnerable to cancellation by any interested party if there has been no effective use of the mark for a period of five consecutive years after registration.
8. The Law shall recognize famous trademarks that are well-known in the GCC member states and shall ensure protection thereof even if the marks are not registered.
9. The Law gives the right to trademark owners to initiate civil and criminal actions against any infringing party. Penalties include a maximum of five year imprisonment and payment of fines of up to US $ 270,000.  

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