Ladas & Parry law firm published this release via the JD Supra network this week.
The country of Oman adopted the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Trademark Law on July 31, 2017, as published in the Official Gazette on July 30, 2017. Official fees are expected to greatly increase once the Implementing Regulations issue, so it may be advisable to expedite renewal of trademark registrations that come due within the next 12 months in order to take advantage of the current official fees.
The GCC Trademark Law will eventually harmonize provisions throughout all GCC states regarding prosecution and enforcement of trademark rights. It is important to note that this law does not offer a unitary trademark registration system, therefore the registration of trademarks across the GCC countries will require individual registrations.
Adopting the GCC trademark law has extended the definition of a trademark. For example, Article 2 of the law includes sound, color and smell marks. While multiclass trademark applications are also allowed under the GCC law, this is not currently available in Oman and will be further clarified when the implementing regulations issue. Further, the examination process has become harmonized so applications will be examined within 90 days (rather than 60) from the date of submission and the applicant will be notified of the decision. There will be a 90 day response period to official actions before the application is considered abandoned.
Other aspects of the GCC Unified Trademark Law are:
- Accepted trademark applications will be published for opposition purposes and oppositions must be filed within 60 days from the publication date.
- Claims of priority can be made based on an already filed foreign application.
- Recognition of famous trademarks in the GCC member states will be protected even if the marks are not registered.
- Trademark owners will be able to initiate civil and criminal actions against infringing entities. Infringing parties could be subjected to a prison sentence of 5 years or incur very large fines.
- Registrations for trademarks are valid for 10 years (from filing date) and can be renewed for 10 years. A grace period of 6 months is available for late renewals.
- If a trademark has had no effective use for 5 consecutive years after registration it could be canceled by other entities.