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Kuwait: Preparing for the Free Trade Talks

July 10, 2007

Kuwait has recently completed the amendment of various local commercial laws in preparation for the future talks on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States of America.  On the intellectual property front, these discussions will promote the establishment of a solid legal framework for intellectual property holders, more transparent and efficient customs procedures, and greater transparency in government and commercial regulations. Currenlty, Kuwait  has a robust Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the USA, signed in February 2004. Briefly, a TIFA is the first step toward an FTA providing the framework for the bilateral discussions.

Major IP Clauses of the FTA
– Each government will be required to establish transparent procedures for the registration of trademarks, including geographical indications, and to develop an on-line system for the registration and maintenance of trademarks, as well as a searchable database.
– Each government commits to protect copyrighted works, including phonograms, for extended terms, consistent with international standards.
– Patent terms can be adjusted to compensate for unreasonable delays in granting the original patent.
– Each government is required to impose deterrent penalties against piracy and counterfeiting.

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