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Middle East - JAH CO.IP
JAH Update Oman and Bahrain with respect to GCC Trademark and VAT Law

OMAN

 

As per the new stipulations issued by the Omani Trademark Registrar it is now permitted to file trademark applications in the name of individuals in Oman provided that the applicant submits a letter in any form; i.e. a declaration or an attestation certified, proving that she/he is engaged in business, trade or industrial activities and such document can be obtained from the Chamber of Commerce or from any equivalent official party such as the Ministry of Economy, Commerce or Industry where the applicant resides. Alternatively, the applicant can submit a simple copy of the mark home application or registration certificate in the home country if available which is preferable or of any other country in its absence.

 

The above is in compliance of the GCC Trademark Law (The Trademark Act of the Member States of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf) Article 4, to which Oman became party to on 25th July 2017 by the Sultanic Decree No. 33 of 2017.

 

Article 4

 

The following categories of applicants shall have the right to register their trademarks:

 

1- Any natural or legal person holding the nationality of any GCC State, whether such a person is a manufacturer, producer, merchant professional or a service enterprise owner.

 

  1. Foreign persons residing in any GCC State wherein they are authorized to engage in commercial, industrial, professional or service business activities.

 

3- Foreigners holding the nationality of any state that is a member to a multilateral international convention to which a GCC State is a party or any residents therein.

 

It is permitted under the practice of the Omani Trademark Registrar to file trademark applications and obtain filing number and date as well as the official filing certificate, renewal, recordal of change of name, address, assignment or license agreement without the complete required documents which should be submitted within 60 days from the date of filing at no additional cost; otherwise, a penalty of official fees of USD 55 will be due after the said 60 days term without a time limit.

 

Trademark Requirements for Individuals:

 

  1. A power of attorney, with an Apostille certification if the country of the applicant individual is a member of the Hague Convention; otherwise the power of attorney should be legalized up to an Omani consulate abroad.
  2. A certified copy of a letter in any form; a declaration or an attestation proving that she/he is engaged in business, trade or industrial activities and such document can be obtained from the Chamber of Commerce or from any equivalent official party such as the Ministry of Economy, Commerce or Industry where the applicant resides. Alternatively, the applicant can submit a copy of the mark home application or registration certificate in the home country if available which is preferable or of any other country in its absence.
  3. A certified copy of the hone or foreign application/registration (priority document) in case priority is to be claimed

 

BAHRAIN

 

Bahrain is set to become the third Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member state to introduce a VAT system. The Bahrain parliament has voted to approve a draft law that will lead to the introduction of the new taxation system on January 1, 2019. The VAT will apply to goods and services at the standard rate of five percent, with some limited exceptions which are expected be clarified in due course.

 

As per the unified GCC VAT agreement (Unified VAT Agreement for The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf), to which Bahrain is a party each member state of the GCC is expected to establish their own separate national legislation concerning the VAT and as such the detailed compliance requirements and set of rules will be outlined in each respective legislation. GCC member states were mandated that any 2-member states should to implement VAT law within 1 year; accordingly, UAE and Saudi Arabia introduced VAT on January 1, 2018. The process of introduction of VAT in other GCC countries is at various stages of preparation with Bahrain likely to implement first followed by Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

 

The Sultanate of Oman has announced that VAT would be introduced in 2019, most likely mid-2019. The Kuwaiti parliament is yet to vote on the VAT bill which should be introduced in the upcoming session before the year-end. Accordingly, the expected timeline of introduction of VAT in Kuwait is late 2019 or even 2020. We await the announcement of Qatar in this relation in due course.

JAH Update Kuwait, Oman and Libya

KUWAIT

Please note that renewal of trademark registrations are now filed online in Kuwait, in the Trademark Office’s drive to completely digitalize the various processes undertaken by TMO.

Kindly note that the system being very new most of the data available in the online portal is incomplete and the onus is on the agent who wants to renew the mark to complete the missing details. There are also certain instances where some of the old marks are not available in the online portal and the agent needs to coordinate with the Kuwaiti Trademark Office to enter the mark details in the online portal enabling the agent to process the renewal request and settle the renewal fees accordingly.

In view of the above, it is recommended to send us the renewal orders in time ( preferably 1 week along with a copy of the registration certificate or last renewal/recordal certificate in order to secure the details of the mark and complete the missing information in the online portal before proceeding with the renewal request and to settle the renewal fees accordingly.

OMAN

The patent office in Oman announced that it is possible to search the patent database for patent applications filed or entered in Oman using bibliographic data of the priority applications or PCT publications. The search results will be provided officially

On a related note, as Oman is also party to the GCC Patent System, it is also advised that the search be also conducted alongside at the same time.

LIBYA

Kindly note that following an escalation in fighting around Libyan Capital of Tripoli we have been receiving a constant stream of queries from clients and associates regarding the functioning of the trademarks office. We wish to kindly clarify that the trademark/patent offices are functional and are accepting applications normally.

Change of filing requirement for POA – Afghanistan

The Afghan Trademark Registration Office (ATRO) has stipulated that it is no longer permitted to file trademarks applications unless with the presence of at least scanned copy of the notarized and legalized POA up to the Afghani Consulate abroad. This decision has been put into effect as of 29/08/2018.

 

As a background, please note that ATRO used to accept filing a trademark application without the legalized power of attorney at the time of filing which can be submitted within three months from the date of filing at no additional cost. However, ATRO has recently changed this practice and started requiring scanned copy of the legalized POA at the time of filing with effect from the date 29/08/2018 allowing to submit the original POA within one month from the date of filing.

 

In this connection, please note that in absence of Afghani Consulate in the home country of the applicant, it is possible to complete the channel of legalization locally in Kabul from our side provided that the power of attorney is sent to us notarized by a Notary Public and attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the applicant home country. This service of local attestation of power of attorney or any other IP related documents is solely provided for those clients residing in a country where Afghanistan Embassy/Consulate is not available; otherwise, it will be considered as an illegal act.

 

For further information or clarification please contact us at info@jahcoip.com

Trademarks applications at “risk” in Kuwait

We wish to kindly update all clients and associates that we have recently received an Official Circular from the Kuwaiti Trademarks Office informing local agents that they set a non-extendable deadline of 31/08/2018 for all trademarks applications for registration filed before 01/01/2018 to clear the following:

 

  • To enter the details of all filed pending applications in the IPAS system (the new internal system for records adopted by the Kuwaiti Trademark Office) for the purpose of examination
  • To settle publication fees for all examined and accepted trademarks applications for registration

 

Failure to attend to the above within the prescribed deadline will result in the lapse of the application.  Attached is a copy of the circular as received from the Kuwaiti Trademarks Office for your reference.

 

JAH will be writing to our clients separately with respect to their trademarks and for trademarks not registered through our firm, we would be pleased to extend our services.

 

Kindly mail info@jahcoip.com for the related requirements and charges so as secure the protection of your trademarks at the earliest duly noting that an original legalized POA is must to undertake the aforementioned actions.

JAH Update Lebanon,Swaziland, Namibia and Somalia

LEBANON

 

The Trademark Office in Lebanon has requested that all requests for recordal of assignments and mergers to be filed under this jurisdiction from June 29, 2018 to be accompanied by the original registration certificate.

 

As per the earlier procedure the TMO used to issue a simple declaration attesting to the recordal but now fresh certificates will be issued in the name of the assignee or the new entity following the merger. The original certificate of registration will be kept with the registry for their records.

 

SWAZILAND

 

The passing of the Intellectual Property Tribunal Act of 2018, which seeks to establish a decision-making body which will be responsible for hearing all matters and disputes involving intellectual property rights; the Act has entered into force without any accompanying regulations. The Patent and Design Act of 1997 and the Patent, Designs and Trade Marks Act of 1936 have now been replaced with the Patents Act more details are yet to be published.

 

NAMIBIA

 

The Namibian Industrial Property Act, 2012 has come into effect on 1 August 2018; it repeals the Patents, Designs, Trade Marks and Copyright Act, 1916, the Patents and Designs Proclamation, 1923 and the Trade Marks in South West Africa Act, 1973. This Act provides for the registration and protection and administration of patents, utility model certificates, industrial designs, trademarks, collective marks, certification marks and trade names.

 

SOMALIA AND SOMALILAND

 

We are pleased to note that publication of cautionary notices is now possible under both the jurisdictions. Prior to 1991 the Trade Marks Registry in Somalia was in operation and it was possible to file trade mark applications; however, the ensuing civil war lead to the breakup of the country. In the absence of Trademark Law protection of trademarks is only by publishing a cautionary notice in the leading newspaper and online. Therefore, there is no provision for renewal of the mark. However, the cautionary notice(s) may be re-published annually.

 

For further information or clarification please contact us at info@jahcoip.com