Over the past few weeks, more than one Trademark Office TMO in the Arab region opted for making some few revisions vis-a-vis the Power of Attorney POA formalities. Reasons and justifications vary across the board. Below is a summary of what recently took place in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and UAE:
Iraq The Iraqi TMO recently announced that POAs should be in the name of a natural person and thus should include the name of the attorney handling the IP case or at least should give the right of substitution to the attorney in charge. POAs in the name of IP firms will no longer be accepted. The TMO also requires POAs to be submitted at the time of filing.
Saudi Arabia The Saudi TMO announced that the new deadline for submitting the POA will be 90 days from notification date received from the TMO. Previously, the POA had to be submitted within 30 days from filing date. This comes as a result of the introduction of an electronic filing system.
UAE Starting May 1, 2014, a POA must be submitted at the time of filing of a new trademark application. This applies to oppositions as well. Previously, POAs could be submitted within 60 days from filing date. Therefore, following this new procedure, applications and oppositions with missing POAs will not be admissible and an extension of time will not be possible. Applicants should carefully account for this especially when faced with an approaching deadline, such as a Paris Convention priority deadline. The POA must be legalized up to the UAE consulate.
When it comes to the authentication requirements, in general, under most by-laws of our region, a POA to act must be legalized or notorially executed. Oman and Bahrain are the only two countries that allow for Apostille legalization. Simply signed POAs are accepted in very few countries, namely Algeria, Djibouti, Gaza, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
A POA must also be dated. Any POA without an express date of execution is void. In addition to Iraq and UAE, submission of POAs at the time of filing is required by the TMOs of Bahrain, Djibouti, Gaza, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar and Yemen. An extension of time is not possible. A general POA may be used for subsequent filings in all countries except for Algeria and Djibouti.