The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Trade Mark Law and its Implementing Regulations entered into force in Qatar on 10 August 2023, replacing Qatar’s previous Trade Mark Law No. 9 of 2002, with respect to trade marks, trade indications, trade names, geographical indications, and industrial designs. Qatar is the fifth GCC state after Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia to implement the law.
The GCC Trade Mark Law, unlike the GCC Patent Regulation, does not introduce a unified registration system, but is rather intended to align trade mark regulations and procedures across member states.
The most significant changes brought by the adoption of the GCC Trade Mark Law are the following:
- the examination process was shortened to a maximum of 90 days;
- the time to comply with examination conditions was reduced from six months to 90 days;
- the opposition period was reduced from four months to 60 days;
- the deadline to appeal an opposition decision before Court was reduced from 60 to 30 days;
- the law now provides more clarity on what constitutes a well-known trade mark;
- multi-class applications are now allowed; and
- it is emphasised that goods and services are not automatically deemed to be similar just because they are in the same class, or unrelated because they are in different classes.
In summary, Qatar’s adoption of the GCC Trade Mark Law is a significant milestone for the harmonisation of IP regulations across the Gulf region. While there are positives, brand owners need to remain cognizant of the shortened formal deadlines and plan ahead when legalised documents are required.
Brand owners also need to be aware of the increased official fees for various services such as trade mark registrations, renewals and recordals, which entered into force in Qatar at the same time as the GCC Trade Mark Law.
By Sara Omran