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Syria: Stay Clear from Famous Trademarks
February 15, 2010
The Standing Committee on Well-Known Trademarks was established pursuant to Presidential Resolution no. 47/2009 and Ministerial Resolution no. 2167/2009 to look into objections against registered trademarks which constitute a reproduction, an imitation, or a translation, liable to create confusion, of marks that are considered by the competent authority of Syria to be well-known. Objections can be raised by owners of well-known trademarks against identical or similar trademark registrations with identical or similar goods or services, as well as identical or similar trademark registrations with dissimilar goods or services, regardless of whether the well-known mark is registered in Syria or not. The Committee is composed of ten voting members including trademark lawyers with substantial experience as well as highly trained professionals.
Any party with reasonable grounds for claim must file an objection at the Trademark Office. The trademark owner will then be officially notified of the objection and is expected to provide a counter-argument within 30 days from notification date. Failing to provide the counter-argument will have no effect on the rights of the registered mark. In case the decision of the Committee is favorable, an official application for the cancellation of the trademark registration must be filed at the Trademark Office. Any appeal against the Committee decision may be raised before the Court. Requests for an injunction relief will be immediately denied.
Assessing whether a mark is famous or not in Syria will be decided in line with Article 44(b) of Syrian Trademark Law no. 8 of 2007. According to this Article, determining the fame of the mark depends on the extent to which the mark is considered well-known among the public concerned. Additional non-exhaustive factors include: the degree of similarity between the competing mark and the famous mark, the degree of inherent or acquired distinctiveness of the famous mark, the extent that the owner of the famous mark is engaging in substantially exclusive use, whether the user of the competing mark intended to create an association with the famous mark, and whether there is an actual association between the competing mark and the famous mark.
A notarized power of attorney is required. The submission of the following documents as supporting evidence is also recommended, along with a legalized affidavit serving as a confirmation to the veracity of the evidence:
– Copies of the registration certificates of the well-known trademark in relevant countries
– Evidence showing the date of first use of the well-known mark
– A brief statement of the origin and the concept of the mark
– Evidences of the volume of sale, worldwide or in selective regions
– Details of advertising and promotional expenditure, and examples of promotional material
– An extract of the commercial register showing the date of establishment in case the registered mark is identical or similar to the trade name of the applicant
A certified Arabic translation must be submitted for all documents in a foreign language.
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