The law of trademarks for the GCC States, officially known as the “GCC Trademarks Law” was issued on 30th July 2017 in Oman. The decision, which was transmitted by Royal Decree no. 33 of 2017, was published in the Official Gazette on July 30, 2017, which has led Oman to become the 4th GCC country to implement the GCC Trademarks Law. The GCC Trade Cooperation Committee initially approved by the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee in 1987, and further amendments were made to it in 2006 and 2013, and finally, the implementing regulations were issued in 2015.
The GCC Trademarks Law outlines that there would be a single group of provisions which will be applied evenly across all the GCC states. The Law would cover the registration and enforcement of trademark rights and local trademark laws in these countries. As the scope would include all the GCC countries registering a trademark, after registering your company in Oman, would be a lot easier.
Let’s have a look at some of the characteristic features of the GCC Trademarks Law:
It is anticipated to come to force in the country six months after its implementing regulations are issued by the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee (made up of the Trade Ministers of the GCC member states). The main features of the law are:
- The definition of a trademark now also includes sounds and smells which are a key factor in differentiating goods and services from one another.
- Now, we can apply for a collective trademark or an individual trademark.
- If a particular trademark has not been used for a period of 5 years after its registration, it can be cancelled.
- Separate applications need to be filed for each different segment.
- The marks that are well known to GCC member states will be under the protection of the GCC Trademark Law, even if they are not registered.
- Claim based on a foreign application which was filed before is now possible.
- Once accepted, the trademark applications will be published to see if there is any opposition to it. The opposition must be filed in 60 days after which the trademark would be deemed registered.
- Trademark registrations are valid for ten years from the dated when it is filed can be renewed for another ten years. There is also a provision for a grace period of six months in case of late renewals.
- After a period of five years, one cannot raise any question regarding a registered trademark as after this period exclusive rights to use the trademark is established.
The penalties for trademark infringement have been increased. According to the GCC Trademarks Law, the penalties are as follows:
- A fine ranging between OMR 500 (approx. USD 1,300) to 100,000 (approx. USD 260,000) and/or imprisonment for between one month and three years to any person who forgeries a registered trademark which ends up misleading people.
- A fine ranging from OMR 500 (approx. USD 1,300) to OMR 100,000 (approx. USD 260,000) and/or imprisonment for between one month and three years to any person who uses a counterfeit trademark and who fixes this trademark to its products with an intent to deceive.
- A fine of between OMR 100 (approx. USD 260) and OMR 10,000 (approximately USD 26,000) and/or imprisonment for between one month and one year to any person who knowingly sells goods which contains a fake or unlawfully fixed trademark.
The Implementing Regulations of the GCC Trademarks Law provide a list of official fees, but it is left to the Member States to decide whether to follow the regulations or to charge its official fees. So far the countries that have implemented the GCC Trademarks Law have agreed to change its official prices, which resulted in substantial increases in the fees. Until now there is nothing announced concerning Oman official fees, but they are expected to be increased once the Implementing Regulations are issued.
In conclusion, The GCC Trademark Laws provides you with a unified set of laws that will be advantageous for the holder as it would provide similar protection all across the GCC. This can help in managing the portfolios of that particular area.
If you are a company and require help regarding the registering of trademarks or any other service, we at Business Setup Worldwide would be glad to help you. We are a global network of business consultants providing business incorporation, legal and support services. Should you have any doubts, or require any additional information, please contact us – we would be happy to help.