News & insights

Qatar: Review of Trademark, Patent and Industrial Design Protection

June 23, 2011

I. TRADEMARKS BASICS

Legislation
Qatar follows the Law No. 9 of 2002.

Classification
The International Classification of Goods and Services (7th Edition) is followed. However, class 33, alcoholic goods in class 32 and pork meat in class 29 can not be registered in Qatar. A separate application is required for each class.

Filing Requirements

1-     Power of attorney, legalized. A general power may be used for subsequent filings.
2-     Copy of the certificate of incorporation.
3-     Copy of priority document, if priority is claimed, certified.
4-     10 prints of the mark for each application.

Documents 1 and 2 must be submitted at the time of filing. Document 3 may be submitted within 6 months from filing date.

Opposition
Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the Gazette of Trademarks. Oppositions may be filed within 4 months from publication date.

Protection Term
Trademark registrations are valid for 10 years from filing date and are renewable for like periods. There is a grace period of 6 months for late renewals with payment of a surcharge.

Use Requirements
Use of a trademark is not required for registration or renewal of a mark. However, a trademark is vulnerable to cancellation by any interested party if there has been no effective use of the mark for a period of 5 consecutive years preceding the date of filing for cancellation.

Assignment
Trademark applications and registrations may be assigned with or without the goodwill of the business concerned.

Licensing
License recordal is compulsory in order to be effective against third parties.

Marking
Marking is not compulsory.

Cancellation
A trademark is subject to cancellation by any interested party if it can be established that the mark was unrightfully registered.

Registration Time Frame
The time frame for completing the registration process is 12 to 15 months.

Three Dimensional Trademark Applications
Admissible.

Well-known Trademarks
Qatar is a signatory country of the Paris Convention. Article 6bis for the convention requires member countries to afford certain protection to well-known mark. Also, Article 8 of the Qatari Trademark Law No. 9 of 2002 states that well-known marks are protected even if they are not registered. Therefore, trademarks which constitute a reproduction, an imitation or those which are liable to create confusion with marks that are considered to be well-known in Qatar are not eligible for registration.

II. TRADEMARKS FLOW CHART

Please follow the link to review the trademarks flow chart

III. PATENTS

The Ministry of Trade and Industry of Qatar issued on August 07, 2006 Decree no. 30/2006 promulgating a Patent Law for the first time in the country. This new law is compliant with the World Trade Organization agreement and mirrors the provisions of the patents section of the TRIPS agreement.

For a long time before the promulgation of Law no. 30/2006 and in the absence of a pertinent local legislation, protection was sought through the Gulf Cooperation Council unified patent registration system. Some sort of protection was also obtained through the publication of cautionary notices at regular intervals in local newspapers. Such notices could have legal value when submitted to the Courts in the event of infringement, thereby claiming ownership of the patent and warning third parties against infringement.

Law no. 30 of 2006 came into force in the country as of its date of promulgation but will only be effective once the implementing regulations are drafted and issued by the Ministry of Economy and Trade. It is however expected to take a long time for the regulations to be issued. Until then, the current means for patent protection in Qatar (the GCC patent system or the publication of cautionary notices) will remain applicable.

In what follows, we list the salient features of Law no. 30 of 2006 as ratified by the Qatari Council of Ministers:

– Patent applications shall be filed with a separate office in the Ministry of Economy and Trade.

– Patents shall be available for all inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step, and are capable of industrial application.

– A patent shall confer on its owner the exclusive rights to prevent third parties not having the owner’s consent from the acts of making, using, offering for sale, or selling the patented invention.

– Patent owners shall have the right to assign, or transfer by succession, the patent and to conclude licensing contracts.

– The Examiner’s decision to grant a patent will be published in the Official Gazette for opposition by any interested party within sixty days from publication date.

– Once granted, a patent shall enjoy protection for twenty years from the date of grant.

– A patent has to be worked. If the patent is not exploited by the patentee within three years from the date of grant, the patent will be the subject of compulsory licensing under the provisions of the law.

– This law may not offer any benefits to local citizens which are not available to citizens of other TRIPS signatories by the principles of the national treatment.

– This law gives the right to patent owners to initiate civil and criminal actions against any infringing party. Penalties include payment of fines up to 10,000 Qatari Riyals (around US $ 2,700) as well as legal prosecution resulting in a maximum of two-year imprisonment.

IV. DESIGNS

The Trademarks, Commercial Indications, Trade Names, Geographical Indications and Industrial Designs and Models Law no.9 of 2002 came into force on September 2002, however the authorities have not yet established the necessary office for receiving design applications nor have the implementing regulations been drafted.

As an alternative measure, protection may be sought by publishing cautionary notices at regular intervals in local newspapers. Such notices could have legal value when submitted to the Courts in the event of infringement, thereby claiming ownership of the design and warning the public against infringement.

V. Recent IP Developments

Accession of Qatar to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization welcomed the deposit of the instrument of accession of Qatar to the Patent Cooperation Treaty on May 3, 2011. The said treaty will enter into force on August 3, 2011. 
Qatar is now bound by the Treaty and consequently any “international” patent application may include the designation of Qatar under its country code “QA”. Furthermore, nationals and residents of Qatar may file “international” patent applications under the Treaty. It is also worth noting that Qatar may be elected for the purpose of International preliminary examination, as it will be bound by Chapter II of the Treaty.
The instrument of accession, however, declares that pursuant to Article 64(5) of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Qatar does not consider itself bound by the provisions of Article 59 of the Treaty. According to Article 59, any dispute between two or more countries of the Treaty concerning the interpretation or application of the Treaty or its regulations, not settled by negotiation, may, by any of the concerned countries, be brought before the International Court of Justice unless the countries concerned agree on some other method of settlement. Therefore, with regard to any dispute between Qatar and any other country of the Treaty, the provisions of Article 59 shall not apply.
However, the Qatari authorities must first amend the law to include provisions related to national phase PCT applications and should complete the set up of the Patent Office in order to receive patent applications.

Registration of Arabic Domain Names

 The Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology ictQATAR announced the launch of the Qatar Domains Registry on March 2, 2011 following the decision of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) back in 2010 to allow for Internationalized Domain Names in non-Latin scripts.

The Sunrise phase for trademark owners is expected to begin very soon. All required documents, registration formalities and the exact dates of the Sunrise Period have not been released yet.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@sabaip.com