A new law (Law no. 8 of 2007) on Trademarks, Geographical Indications, and Industrial Models and Designs was approved by the Syrian People’s Assembly on March 06, 2007 after being ratified earlier by the Council of Ministers on June 06, 2006. The bill was then approved and passed by the President of Syria on March 12, 2007.

Subsequently, Law no. 8 of 2007 was made available to the public on March 12, 2007 and will enter into force in the country after 30 days from publication date. Meanwhile, the implementing regulations of the new law are expected to be drafted and issued by the Syrian Ministry of Economy and Trade this month.  Law no. 8 of 2007, once enacted, will replace existing Legislative Decree No. 47 of 1946 on Trademarks, Industrial Models, and Designs.

We list below the main features of Law no. 8 of 2007 for clarity:

1. Any trademark capable of being represented graphically and consisting of a letter, word, numeral, and design may be registered, provided that it is distinctive. However, the definition of a trademark does not include sound and smell marks.

2. A trademark may be individual or collective.

3. A trademark is subject to cancellation by any interested party within 5 years from registration date unless the mark was registered in bad faith, in which case, there is no time limit.

4. A trademark is vulnerable to cancellation by any interested party if there has been no effective use of the mark for a period of 3 consecutive years.

5. A separate application should be filed for each class of goods or services. For a multi-class trademark registered under the existing law, a renewal application will generate separate renewal certificates according to the number of classes originally registered.

6. Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the Trademarks Journal. Oppositions may be filed within 90 days from publication date.

7. Trademarks which have successfully passed the opposition period will be published for a second time in the Trademarks Journal for confirmation of registration.

8. Appeals against the Registrar’s notices of rejection may be filed before an Objection Committee within 30 days of notification.

9. 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.

10. Forthcoming applications for renewal of trademarks that were registered under the existing law will be examined and published for opposition within 60 days from publication. This procedure will not be applicable in the case of further renewals.

11. The Courts shall recognize famous trademarks that are well known in Syria and abroad and shall ensure their protection even if the marks are not registered.

Geographical Indications
1. A trademark that is liable to create confusion with a geographical indication duly protected can not be registered. Likewise, the protection of a geographical indication that is confusingly similar to a previously applied for or registered trademark is prohibited.

2. Penalties imposed on perpetrators include payment of fines of up to 200,000 Syrian Pounds (around 3,800 US Dollars) as well as legal prosecution resulting in a maximum of 6-month imprisonment terms.

Industrial Models and Designs
1. Absolute novelty is required. However, disclosure of a design in official or officially recognized national/international exhibitions shall not be taken into consideration if it occurred within a 6-month grace period preceding the filing date of the design application.

2. Industrial models and designs are valid for 5 years from filing date, and are renewable for two consecutive terms of 5 years.

Other Provisions
1. A special chamber shall be set up at the Civil Courts of First Instance and Appeal for intellectual property related matters.

2. As a new border measure, the holder of a trademark right shall be entitled to request the Customs authorities to seize imports of goods with infringing trademarks. Customs will have the authority to seize suspected goods and give the parties concerned ten days to bring a lawsuit.

On an additional note, it is worth noting that the Syrian Ministry of Economy and Trade will revise the official fees schedule in connection with the registration of trademarks and designs. The revised rates will be available once the implementing regulations of Law no. 8 of 2007 are issued.

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