News & insights

Fraudsters Beware: Tougher Penalties for Commercial Fraud in Saudi Arabia

September 1, 2020

In light of its continuous crackdown on intellectual property infringement and malicious business practices, Saudi Arabia issued a new decision in an effort to curb commercial fraud. New regulations were published in order to assist in eliminating the shady business practices in the country, and such measures include more stringent penalties for offenders of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to SAR 5 million (around US$ 1.33 million).

Newly published regulations state that the definition of a commercial fraud crime has been expanded to include the act of selling and/or producing infringing or fraudulent products, or raw materials used to produce said products, that are harmful to human or animal health and safety.

By way of background, under the Gulf Cooperation Council Trademark Law, which is applied in Saudi Arabia, and the Anti-commercial Fraud Law, the Anti-Commercial Fraud Department (ACFD) at the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) has the jurisdiction to act on an ex officio basis or upon a request from brand owners or right holders in order to seize any and all goods that are suspected of bearing infringing trademarks.

Filing an administrative action before the ACFD must be done in writing, and must include all evidence of infringement and registered rights over the trademark. It is worth noting that Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) plans to absorb the responsibilities of ACFD in the near future to offer a streamlined and centralized service to brand owners and the parties concerned.

Such developments in Saudi Arabia showcase that the country is nurturing the right environment for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

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