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Jordan: Promoting the Use of Arabic on Signboards

May 12, 2016

Jordan is expected to join Egypt, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria in their call for the compulsory use of the Arabic script of a mark on signboards. This comes pursuant to the provisions of Article 5 of Law no. 35 of 2015 for the protection of the Arabic language introduced in the country on July 1, 2015. The Article allows for the use of a language on the signboards other than Arabic as long as the Arabic part appears in a much bigger font. The scales are not explicitly identified in the Law.

Law no. 35 of 2015 became effective on September 1, 2015. Based on Article 16 of the Law, all affected parties have until September 1, 2016 to ensure full compliance with the underlying provisions. Violations will be subject to fines ranging between USD$1,400 and USD$4,200.

Seeing that use of a mark in Arabic is not a matter of choice but is a statutory requirement governed by local regulations, it becomes advisable to register the transliteration in the local script in class 35, in addition to the registration in the Latin version.  Clearly, a key disadvantage of filing an Arabic trademark is the additional costs of clearance and registration. However, the benefits of protecting a mark in Arabic outweigh the associated costs. Problems can certainly arise when it comes to enforcing trademark rights against third parties using or attempting to register confusingly similar Arabic transliterations. It is always easier to enforce marks in the same language.

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