Sunday, 3 July 2016

Syria - reduction in Madrid individual fee

News from WIPO (here) that from 1 August 2016 the individual fee payable for International Registrations designating the Syrian Arab Republic will be CHF39. This is a reduction from the current individual fee of CHF66. That the change is a reduction is interesting to note following the recent increases in local filing fees (here).  

Thursday, 30 June 2016

UAE - the pirate registration of a well known mark can be cancelled even after five years of use by the owner of the registration

News on the World Trademark Review website today of an article by Al Tamimi in which they report a case in which the Courts of First Instance, Appeal and Cassation all confirmed that the pirate registration of an internationally well known mark may be cancelled even after local use of the mark continuously for at least five years.

The Article is available here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Oman - PCT e-filing and workshop

A belated report of news from April on the Muscat Daily website of developments in Oman.

The first report (here) states:

"The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) has launched an online system for filing patents.

“ePCT or the electronic Patent Cooperation Treaty is a new service that will make the process of filing patents easier. The service was launched on Monday,” said Fatma Abdullah al Ghazali, consultant for external affairs to the Minister of Commerce and Industry.

PCT assists applicants in seeking protection internationally for inventions, helps offices with their patent granting decisions and facilitates public access to technical information relating to those inventions. By filing one single application under PCT, applicants can seek protection for an invention in 148 countries, according to World Intellectual Property

Organization (WIPO). “We are a member of PCT since 2001 but have always depended on the International Bureau of WIPO to submit all applications. From now onwards, we will receive all patent applications with the technical support of WIPO,” she said.
Fatma said that earlier the person or firm had to visit the country he was seeking protection in to file a patent. “It is not possible for all Omanis to go abroad to file patents as it’s an expensive affair. They even had to hire international agents to submit their applications. Now, they can visit our office or submit the patent application on our website.”"

The second report (here) states:

"A two-day workshop on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) began under the patronage of H E Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed bin Nassir al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education and in the presence of H H Sayyid Dr Fahad bin al Julanda al Said, assistant secretary general for innovation and development of The Research Council (TRC), H E Dr Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, on Tuesday.

Organised by TRC in cooperation with other organisations, it is discussing a number of issues including the topic, ‘Patents in the Sultanate of Oman: Current Status, Performance and Statistics’. The workshop coincides with the World Intellectual Property Day that is marked on April 26 every year. Participants are being introduced to basics, contracting states, statistics and main advantages of PCT."

Free anti-counterfeiting guides - Lebanon and the UAE from WTR

World Trade Mark Trademark Review have made available on their website the 2016 edition of "Anti-counterfeiting – A Global Guide" (here). The guide includes chapters on Lebanon (here from Walid Nasser) and the United Arab Emirates (here from Malek Khalifeh).  Useful. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Eid Al Fitr 2016

In the UAE, Ramadan is expected to end on the evening of 5 July and the Eid Al Fitr holiday to begin on Wednesday 6 July. So far we know of these holidays:

UAE - government closed from Sunday 3 July to Thursday 7 July, reopening Sunday 10 July
Pakistan - government closed from Wednesday 6 July to Friday 8 July, reopening Monday 11 July
Saudi Arabia - government closed from Friday 1 July to Saturday 9 July, reopening Sunday 10 July

Turkey - government closed from Monday 4 July to Friday 8 July, reopening Monday 11 July

Sunday, 26 June 2016

WIPO - PCT Guides - Syria

News from WIPO two weeks ago that this part of the PCT Guide for Syria has been updated:

Receiving Offices - Annex C (here)

UAE - enforcement in Abu Dhabi so far in 2016 (part 2)

Further to the earlier report (here) of enforcement in Abu Dhabi in 2016, further news from Khaleej Times (here). Of particular interested to this part of the Empty Quarter during this Holy month is that the ADDED has "contributed to the UAE Red Crescent's charity project 'Preserving the Blessing' by donating 10,173 pieces of clothes and shoes, 102 grams of gold and Dh129,960 earned from recycling some of the seized goods."


The full article says:"Abu Dhabi will impose heavy fines on businesses that are involved in commercial fraud by selling fake products. In more serious cases, it could even result in the closure of such business.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (Added) will introduce a number of measures and penalties based on law No (2) of 2009 on the establishment of Added and Resolution No 25 on the regulation of economic activities and licence issuance.

"These authorise the Added to impose penalties that can even reach the closure of any establishment that is involved in commercial fraud," said Mohammed Munif Al Mansouri, acting executive director of Abu Dhabi Business Centre.

He was commenting on the joint raids carried out by the Added in cooperation with the municipalities of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region, Abu Dhabi Police, the Food Control Authority, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council and the Waste Management Centre.

The Added destroyed 165,000 counterfeit and fake items seized during raids in recent months. The destroyed goods included clothes, shoes, accessories, cosmetics and haircare products, electronics, telephone and mobile phones, tobacco, food products, auto parts accessories, intellectual property works, sanitary items, building materials, medicines, games and gifts.

The Added has contributed to the UAE Red Crescent's charity project 'Preserving the Blessing' by donating 10,173 pieces of clothes and shoes, 102 grams of gold and Dh129,960 earned from recycling some of the seized goods.

Al Mansouri said his department is committed to continue its efforts to combat trading in counterfeit and fraudulent goods and to confiscate them across the emirate of Abu Dhabi through raids.

Al Mansouri commended the efforts of government stakeholders who took part in these raids along with Added inspectors in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region.

The raids have revealed several malpractices and techniques followed by storekeepers.

He said these raids come as part of an annual plan carried out this year by the Added to combat commercial fraud in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. He stressed the commitment of the Added to protect commercial activities across all sectors, especially those that are directly involved with consumers.

He called on consumers and trademark owners in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to contact the Added on the toll-free number (800555) to report any outlets or persons carrying out commercial fraud."


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Kuwait - accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty

Further to earlier news here and here, news from WIPO (here) that on 9 June 2016 Kuwait deposited its instrument of accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The Treaty will enter in to force in Kuwait on 9 September 2016.

The full announcement reads: 

PCT Notification No. 208
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Accession by the State of Kuwait

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) presents his compliments to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and has the honor to notify the deposit by the Government of the State of Kuwait, on June 9, 2016, of its instrument of accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), done at Washington on June 19, 1970, amended on September 28, 1979, modified on February 3, 1984, and on October 3, 2001.

The said Treaty will enter into force, with respect to the State of Kuwait, on September 9, 2016.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

UAE - UAEU licences patents to US pharma business

News in Gulf News (here) of the licensing of four patents to US pharma business, BioLegend.

The report reads: "UAE University (UAEU) has signed a licensing agreement with global US-based pharmaceutical company BioLegend, which will see four of the university’s developed patents being used to help detect Parkinson’s disease, an official from the university told Gulf News.

The development is a big step in line with UAE’s vision of a knowledge-based economy, and also sends a positive message on the contributions that can be made from the Arab world in the fields of science and medicine.

“Researchers from our College of Medicine have been working for 10 years on developing a new method to diagnose Parkinson’s disease using antibodies that were produced in our laboratories. After successful research results, we filed a patent for our findings, with a lot of companies around the world showing interest in our studies,” said Mohammad Al Hemairy, head of Patents and Technology Transfer at UAEU.

“BioLegend is a multinational pharmaceutical company that is working to manufacture therapeutic and diagnostic tools for neurology diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzhemiers among others. We entered discussions and negotiations with them for over a year until we reached terms that we both agreed on.

“The agreement grants BioLegend access to our intellectual property and patents for the next 10 years — allowing them to utilise our research findings to develop a commercial product for the market,” Al Hemairy added.

Commenting on the specifics of the research findings and the antibodies they produced, Al Hemairy said: “In simple terms, these antibodies have features that able them to carry messages to the nerve cells in the brain, after which they will form a cluster. This cluster can then be detected by a CT scan, which will allow doctors to identify the affected cells that are being damaged by Parkinson’s.”

Al Hemairy spoke positively on the magnitude of the patent agreements with BioLegend, and said it sets a new precedent for the university and the UAE.

“This is something very unique and novel — here we have a major company like BioLegend, who are based in the US and are worth billions of dollars, coming and seeking knowledge from the UAE,” he said.

“We have produced a technology that we are exporting to the outside world. We are contributing towards resolving and finding a diagnosis that is very much needed, and so there is a humanitarian dimension and benefit to what we are doing,” he added.

Speaking on the time frame for the planned commercialisation of the patents by BioLegend, Al Hemairy said that it would take roughly 18 months.

“Before BioLegend can send it to the manufacturing stage, there needs to be some tests for proof of concept — this is to basically prove that the findings do work and are safe to be used. After this is done, they will get the approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to manufacture the medication and drug,” said Al Hemairy.""

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Libya - (slow) progress on publication of trade mark applications and issues with registration certificates

News from good friends SMAS that publication of trade mark applications is progressing slowly. They report that the last publication was "Publication no.3" on 4 June 2015 with application numbers 20195 to 20465.

In other news this part of the Empty Quarter has received registration certificates recently issued from Libya where the goods applied for have been changed to the class heading by the Trade Mark Office. According to advice from local agents the Trade Mark Office is changing the specification on all new registrations certificates in this way. Some agents are simply accepting the change and others are pushing back to try have the specification changed back to that which was applied for. The class heading used is from the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification.

Yemen - class headings no longer accepted

News from good friends SMAS by email that class headings are no loner accepted in trade mark applications. The notice from SMAS reads:

"Class heading in trademark applications will no longer acceptable in Yemen

The General Department for Intellectual Property in Yemen has issued a public notice on May 4, 2016 that the use of class heading in trademark applications will be no longer acceptable and the applicant should specify the goods/services for registration in details.

The said decision came in force in Yemen as from 6 June 2016.

Should you have any queries in relation to this matter or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at yemen@smas-ip.com"

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Saudi Arabia's National Transformation Plan includes SAR5 million to set up an Intellectual Property Authority

News from Arabian Business today that the National Transformation Plan of Saudi Arabia, part of the wider Vision 2030 change program, includes SAR5 million (about US$1.3 million) to set up an Intellectual Property Authority.

The article (here) says:

".....Other spending included 2.1 billion riyals to restructure the postal sector, 5 million to set up an intellectual property authority, 8 million to improve civil service performance and 3.5 billion to maintain cultural heritage....."

UAE - Dubai Customs detains 54 shipments in first 3 months of 2016

This is a belated report of news from Emirates 24/7 (here) that in April 2016 Dubai Customs reported that they had detained 54 shipments of counterfeit goods in the first quarter of 2016. The report reads:

"Dubai has intensified its campaign against intellectual property right (IPR) infringements during the first quarter of this year.

According to Dubai Customs’ figures released today, 135 seizures of IPR infringing goods worth Dh16.8 million were made last year while in the first quarter of this year, 54 seizures were made at a value of Dh34.5 million.

Abdullah Al Khaja, Executive Director of Customer Management Division at Dubai Customs, said: “You can only imagine the health and economic impacts if these goods went into our markets… The protection of intellectual property rights is gaining a lot of momentum in the UAE, to keep pace with the progress in creative industries.”

Speaking on the occasion of World IP Day 2016, Khaja said: “A report estimated that the growing impact of digital piracy could add up to £215 billion in lost revenue globally, while in the Mena region, losses in revenue due to digital piracy amount to over £750 million every year."

Monday, 6 June 2016

Korea to support the UAE Ministry of Economy's industrial property program

New from various sources of the signing of three MoUs between the UAe and South Korea. One of the MoUs deals with support of the UAE Ministry of Economy by the Korean Intellectual Property Office.

Khaleej Times (here) reports:

"......The most significant outcome of the committee meeting was the signing of three key memorandums of understanding (MoUs).....Another MoU involves the secondment of IT experts from the Korean Intellectual Property Office (Kipo) to the UAE Ministry of Economy in line with the latter's programme for industrial property......Participants discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in key sectors, including...intellectual property rights..."


Gulfbase.com (here) reports:

"The UAE Ministry of Economy has launched a work plan for developing its Industrial Property sector at various levels in cooperation with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the Korea Institute of Patent Information (KIPI). The move follows up on the MOU signed by the Ministry and Korea during the UAE-Korea Joint Economic Committee Meeting concluded recently in Abu Dhabi.

The work plan forms part of the Ministry of Economy’s preparations for establishing its ‘International Centre for Registration of Patents’ as well as the implementation of the recommendations of the UAE’s Ministerial Development Council presented in early May 2016.

In line with the plan, a delegation from the Ministry headed by Eng. Mohammed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi, Undersecretary of Economic Affairs, and accompanied by Dr Ali Al-Hosni, Assistant Under-Secretary for Intellectual Property Affairs, and Khalfan Al Suwaidi, Industrial Property Director, visited the Republic of South Korea last month. The group met KIPO representatives and discussed ways to enhance cooperation in developing Ministry procedures related to industrial property and to prepare a programme for the automation of industrial property applications as stipulated in the MoU signed between the two countries during the latest UAE-Korea Economic Joint Committee meeting.

The agreement with the KIPO includes dedicating IT experts at the Ministry for the automation of the industrial property applications project and providing consultation, training and technical support for the automated system. The two parties also agreed that the KIPO and KIPI will provide consultations and suggestions on the development of related regulations.

Al Shehhi said that the plan is part of the Ministry’s efforts to further develop national industries and create an environment conducive to innovation as well as the protection of intellectual property rights in the sector."

UAE - enforcement in Abu Dhabi so far in 2016

News from a report in Emirates 24/7 (here) of enforcement by the Abu Dhabi Department for Economic Development so far in 2016. The report reads:

"Over 200,000 fakes seized in Abu Dhabi
ADDED launched 247 inspection raids, issued 1555 fines

Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development’s Abu Dhabi Business Center (ADBC) conducted 247 inspection raids in outlets and commercial establishments in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region in the first quarter of 2016, and confiscated 200,428 counterfeit products. These included auto spare parts, electronic devices, clothes, accessories, beauty products and other items.

In it’s Q1, 2016 report, ADDED’s Commercial Protection Division said the raid resulted in issuing 1,555 fines against outlets and establishments that violated laws and regulations of practising business activity in some sectors across the Abu Dhabi.

Seven stores were closed for non-compliance with the emirate’s business practice laws and regulations.

According to the report, 33,164 field visits were conducted to Abu Dhabi’s stores and establishments in Q1 of 2016.

In the same period, the Commercial Protection Division received 945 complaints from consumers and trade mark owners about wrong or illegal practices by some businesses, street vendors and others.

Consumer awareness during Ramadan

Khalifa bin Salem Al Mansouri, ADDED Acting Undersecretary, stressed the ADDED commitment to trace and eliminate all negative practices that will affect the performance of the business environment in Abu Dhabi. He lauded the role of ADDED’s strategic partners across government, semi-government and private sectors in helping the authority achieve its strategic goals of establishing a competitive business environment in the emirate.

During the month of Ramadan, ADDED conducts inspection visits to vegetable and fruit markets, livestock markets and other outlets across the three regions of the emirate in coordination with the Ministry of Economy, he said and added that ADDED also distributes pamphlets to raise consumer awareness during Ramadan.

He called on the public in Abu Dhabi to report any violations to competent bodies, especially ADDED as it is responsible for the regulation of commercial activities in the emirate in coordination with other stakeholders.

Al Mansouri stressed that in line with its endeavours to promote its role in the field of commercial protection in Abu Dhabi, ADDED has initiated procedures to enforce laws of competition and intellectual property protection, to develop electronic platforms to receive consumer complaints, to launch awareness campaigns to ensure consumer rights and protection and to enforce governance mechanisms along with strategic partners in the field of consumer protection.

"The ADDED is now implementing a number of strategic commercial protection projects in cooperation with relevant government partners in the emirate, including the establishment of a consumer protection center, market monitoring, restructuring the retail sector like supermarkets, geographic coding, mobile truck vending, eliminating nominal or mock trade licenses and the provision of the services of the Commercial Protection Division through smart mobile applications.

Raids and complaints

The report also said that 58 inspection raids were conducted in January to trace commercial fraud and combat negative practices in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region. They resulted in confiscating 2,126 electronic devices, clothes and accessories in addition to 234 sheep from street vendors.

There were 88 raids in February, resulting in the seizure of 162,816 items, including counterfeit car spare parts, electronic devices, clothes, accessories, beauty products. Apart from these 27.5 tonnes of vegetables and fruits and 3 tonnes of clothes and household items were also confiscated from street vendors.

In March 101 inspection visits resulted in the confiscation of 35,486 items including car spare parts, electronic devices, clothes, accessories, beauty products as well as 10,220 Kg of vegetables and fruits.

Region-wise, the report noted that the city of Abu Dhabi has seen 19,657 field inspection visits to stores and commercial establishments during the first quarter of 2016. During these visits, 761 fines were issued. The Commercial Protection Division received 490 complaints from customers and trade name owners in the city.

In Al Ain, 8,963 field inspection visits were made to stores and commercial establishments during the same period, in which 707 fines were issued. The Commercial Protection Division received 441 complaints from customers and trade name owners in the Al Ain.

As for the Western Region, 4,544 field inspection visits were conducted in the first quarter, where 87 fines were issued against violators. The Commercial Protection Division received only 19 complaints from customers and trade name owners in the Western Region."

Good work

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Syria - increase in official fees - effective 22 May 2016

News from good friends SMAS that official fees in Syria increased on 22 May 2016.  The email report from SMAS reads:

"Please be advised that the Syrian Ministry of Interior Trade and Consumer Protection has issued a new decision No. 1171 dated 15 May 2016, stipulating that the publication fees of accepted trademarks, industrial deigns, industrial models applications (for new application, as well as, renewals) and the recordal of changes applications have been increased for local and foreign applicants, bearing in mind that the said decision came in force as from  22 May 2016.

The new fees will be as follows:

Description
Amount
Syrian pound
Publication fees of new/renewal applications for trademarks, Industrial designs/models (1st & 2nd publication fees) 
70,000
Extra publication fees for each extra ten items for new/renewal trademark applications (1st & 2nd publication fees) 
2000
Extra publication fees for each additional industrial design /model in the one and the same application
12000
Publication fees for recordal of changes applications
25,000
Extra publication fees for each additional trademark/industrial design/model 
5000
Extra publication fees for each additional change in the one and same application
2000
" 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bahrain - significant increases in official fees - effective 29 May 2016

News from good friends SMAS that official fees in Bahrain were increased on 29 May 2016. While full details are not available, this part of the Empty Quarter has been told that the official fees for a trade mark search for one mark in one class have increased from US$80 to US$265.

News from good friends Saba & Co by email. Their notice reads:

"Bahrain: Substantial Increase in Official Fees and Introduction of Online Publication

Pursuant to Ministerial Decree no. 65 of 2016 approving the Implementing Regulations of the GCC Trademark Law, the official fees for trademark related matters have increased significantly across the board in comparison with their current level. The new rates became effective as of May 29, 2016 and will be applied on all new as well as pending applications.

The increase in fees has also been coupled with the introduction of an electronic Official Gazette (eOG). The eOG will be available in English and Arabic and is expected to be published every Thursday of each month. This electronic version will contain the particulars of each accepted trademark application and a representative drawing, along with a list of cancelled registrations. It will also contain the particulars of approved Recordals of License Agreements and Transfers of Ownership. For the time being, the eOG will not be including a list of renewed registrations, notices of office actions, as well as particulars of international registrations designating Bahrain.

The first eOG, planned to be issued on June 2, 2016, is expected to include around 1,000 publications. On the publication date or shortly thereafter, applicants should carefully review the information that appears in the eOG for accuracy. Any interested party may file an opposition against a published trademark within 60 days from publication date."

Oman - trade names must be in Arabic

News from the Omani Ministry of Commerce & Industry (here) of ministerial decision No 124/2016 Issued on 27 April 2016. Effective from the day after publication in Official Gazette 1145. The report reads:

"1 May 2016: Dr Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry has issued a ministerial decision No 124/2016 regarding new regulations for the registration of trade names. The regulations states that the trade name should be formed of original Arabic words or translated to Arabic and it should not contain foreign words except for the subsidiaries of international companies registered in the Sultanate or the joint Omani-foreign companies or the wholly foreign-owned firms. The decision stated that registered trade name should not be split or changed either by addition or omission and the subsidiaries of a registered commercial entity are not allowed to go under an independent trade name. As per the regulation , the ministry of commerce and industry may reject a proposed trade name or change an existing trade name that is deemed noncompliant with the regulations. The regulations ban the registration of trade names that are consistent with well-known local or overseas firms. Banned trade names also include those bearing political, religious or military connotations or are consistent with the names of existing social or charitable organizations. The regulations also ban registration of trade names containing the word ‘Oman’ or Omaniyah."

Sunday, 29 May 2016

UAE - Youth Council endowment includes advice on Intellectual Property

News from Gulf News (here) of the creation of a new endowment for youth projects which includes, amongst many other benefits, advice on intellectual property. The report reads:

"Dubai: An innovative endowment fund to support youth projects was launched on Tuesday by the UAE Youth Council (UAEYC).

Contributing organisations to the endowment will provide services valued at Dh5 million annually, amounting to endowment assets of Dh63 million.

The endowment will bet set up in cooperation with the Mohammad Bin Rashid Global Centre for Endowment Consultancy (MBRGCEC). Unlike traditional endowments that provide financial assistance, this innovative endowment will also allow contributing organisations to provide additional services.

The project will see the contribution of six organisations: In5 innovation centre, Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre, Impact Hub, UAE Barq, Wamda and a group of lawyers established in compliance with Dubai Chamber’s statute.

In5 centre will be offering endowment services to a group of youth projects, services include providing them with a workspace, meeting halls, production studios and technology labs. It will also offer training programmes.

UAE Barq will offer a media platform to support youth projects, such as providing them with advertisement services to promote their projects to a wide audience by using UAE Barq’s various media channels. Youths will also have access to promotional and counselling services from Wamda in order to boost the success of their business.

The Lawyers work group will offer a legal bundle that include training programmes for youth projects that deal with commercial contracts, franchising, intellectual property, commercial and employee-related issues, as well as commercial arbitration. The group will also allocate consultation hours to answer any legal inquiries posed by youths with business projects and ideas.

Shamma Suhail Faris Al Mazroui, Minister of State for Youth, said that the global vision of the endowment, which was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, revived the concept of endowments as a tool for developing societies.

Al Mazroui indicated that youth projects are a key pillar for economies of various societies. She pointed out that the cooperation between the UAEYC and MBRGCEC has created an opportunity for the UAE to be one of the top countries in supporting Emirati youths’ projects by using an innovative endowment that will contribute to the UAE’s economic development.

She thanked all organisations who provided innovative endowment-related solutions that contribute to developing an ideal business environment for youth projects. Al Mazroui expressed her confidence in this innovative project, which will have a prominent impact in boosting the success of youth projects."

Oman - WIPO seminar on enforcement of Intellectual Property

News from the Oman News Agency (here) of a seminar conducted with WIPO on the enforcement of intellectual property in Oman. The report reads:

"Muscat, May 16 (ONA) ---- Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Royal Oman Police and the Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI) in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) organized today a seminar at PACI's HQs' on enforcing the intellectual property rights law by law enforcement officers.

The opening ceremony of the seminar was sponsored by Maj. Gen Sulaiman bin Mohammed al- Harthy, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Customs for Financial and Administrative Affairs who said that the seminar comes as one of a series of seminars that aim at protecting the national products and preventing the entry of imitated products to the Sultanate through land and marine ports.

The first seminar sessions included a number of topics, such as the different intellectual property rights, adopting a balanced approach in enforcing these rights and the legalnational framework through which the IP rights can be enforced."

Friday, 27 May 2016

Arabic learning resources - USPTO's Global Intellectual Property Academy

This part of the Empty Quarter likes outreach schemes. The Global Intellectual Property Academy (here) has usefully produced it's materials in Arabic (here). Useful. Thank you.

WIPO - PCT Guides - Oman

News from WIPO today that these parts of the PCT Guides for Oman have been updated:

General Information - Annex B (here)
Receiving Offices - Annex C (here)

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Kuwait - joining the PCT

News from good friends Saba & Co (here) and AGIP (here) of progress by Kuwait towards joining the Patent Co-operation Treaty.

Saba reports:

"Barely a year and a half after issuing Law no. 36/2014 paving the way for Kuwait’s accession to the Paris Convention in November 2014, Kuwait’s Council of Ministers voted and published on March 27, 2016 a new law, Law no. 11/2016, which paves the way for the country’s accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Building on its determination to strengthen and enforce its economic growth, Kuwait realizes that a developed and advanced IP system is an important tool in achieving this goal. With the introduction of this Law, the Council empowers and entrusts the Foreign Ministry with depositing its instruments with the WIPO thus ushering a new era of patent procurement in Kuwait. The actual date of accession and the date on which the Treaty will go into force are yet to be determined.

Needless to say, there are a number of questions that remain unanswered at this stage, as it is important to determine if following the implementation of the Law, the Patent Office will introduce and publish new regulations which would provide for local substantive examination and search capabilities to name a couple. Furthermore, it remains uncertain if the Patent Office intends to start granting patents and receiving annuity payments.

We expect these issues to be addressed during the period between the country’s accession and the first deadlines for national stage entries of PCT applications in Kuwait.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

AGIP reports:

"KUWAIT – Kuwait’s Council of Ministers published the new Law No. 11/2016, which represents a step in the country’s accession to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Joining the PCT enables Kuwait to register international patents through the national offices of the state members. The PCT system is considered more cost effective than filing separate national or regional applications. However, the published law is effective only after signing the agreement and publishing the implementing regulations."

Saudi Arabia - changes to trade mark publications

News reaches this part of the Empty Quarter of changes to publication of trade marks in Saudi Arabia.

The Trade Mark Office is moving the publication of marks from the Ministry of Commerce & Investment website (http://eservices.mci.gov.sa/Eservices/Commerce/Trademarks.aspx). The new website is set up only for the purposes of publication (http://aamaly.sa/TM). Unfortunately, the new website does not, at the moment, include the trade mark number in the publication. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Kuwait - no more local patent filing

News from good friends Saba & Co (on their website here) that the Kuwaiti Patent Office is no longer accepting patent applications and that all new applications must be filed at the GCC Patent Office. The report reads:

"The Kuwaiti Ministry of Trade and Industry approved Law no. 115 of 2016 on the regulations implementing patent Law no. 71 of 2013. The new Law was published on April 3, 2016 and went into effect the following day.

Accordingly, the Kuwaiti Patent Law and regulations which are in force as of April 4, 2016 are the GCC Patent Law and its Implementing Regulations, respectively. Indeed, Kuwaiti Law no. 71 of 2013 is the GCC Patent Law, while Kuwaiti Law no. 115 of 2016 is the regulations implementing the GCC Patent Law.

Furthermore, the Kuwaiti Patent Office stopped accepting new patent applications as of April 4, 2016. It is advising parties interested in seeking patent protection in Kuwait to utilize the GCC regional patent office. As a reminder, a GCC patent application automatically designates all six GCC member countries, and no further validation is required upon grant.

Given that Kuwait recently issued a law (Law no. 11/2016) paving the way for the country’s accession to the PCT, we expect more news to come out of the country with regards to its patent system.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Qatar - Patent Grievances Committee

News from good friends Saba & Co (on their website here) of the formation of a Grievances Committee to hear issues relating to patent applications. The report reads:

"Now that the Qatari Patent Office has been actively examining patent applications for the past several months and has even issued decisions on several applications, there is a need for applicants and interested parties to have a clear mechanism for appealing or opposing such decisions. As part of the country's efforts in advancing its IP procurement, Qatar recently approved a draft decision on the formation of a Grievances Committee.

The Committee is to be headed by the Director of the Patent Office and its members will be composed of representatives from the Minister of Economy and Commerce, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, and Qatar Chamber of Commerce. The Committee's main functions will include handling enforcement and litigations concerning registration of patents and compulsory licenses.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Iraq - new requirements for class 5 applications

News from good friends Saba & Co (on their website here) of changes to practice in Iraq for class 5 applications. They report that:

"The Trademark Office in Baghdad recently introduced a revised set of requirements in support of trademarks applications in class 5, even though there was no Ministerial Resolution issued in this regard. Applicants are now required to provide the information listed below when filing applications covering pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations and sanitary preparations for medical purposes. This will apply on all new as well as pending applications that have not been examined yet.
  • International Nonproprietary Name
  • Name of manufacturer
  • Name of distributor
  • Drug formulation/Dosage form
After submission of the above information, the TMO is expected to obtain the approval of the country’s Ministry of Health before the underlying applications are placed for examination. The application will be rejected on formal grounds if applicant fails to provide all of the required information. It is still unclear whether the information must be admitted at the time of filing or within a specified period of time from filing date.

Syria is the only country in the Arab region to impose filing requirements that are specific to class 5 only (certificate of origin and list of ingredients). With Iraq now on board, the registration process for pharmaceutical trademarks becomes unique to class 5 in these two countries. For the remaining countries in the region, the process remains standard regardless of the type of class involved.

We will be reviewing files of all pending trademark applications and will be notifying clients of all missing information in order to complete the records at the TMO, and eventually place the applications in the pipeline for examination.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Kuwait - new Copyright law

Hot on the heels of the publication of the USTR Special 301 report last month in wish Kuwait remained on the Special Watch List in part due to not having passed a new Copyright Law, news reaches this part of the Empty Quarter that the National Assembly in Kuwait approved the draft law yesterday.

The Special 301 report (here) says:

"Kuwait remains on the Priority Watch List in 2016. Kuwait was elevated from the Watch List in November 2014 at the conclusion of an OCR, because Kuwait failed to introduce to the National Assembly a copyright law consistent with international standards, and had not resumed effective enforcement against copyright and trademark infringement. Although Kuwaiti officials initially took steps to resume enforcement following the announcement of the 2014 OCR, effective enforcement actions have reportedly significantly decreased since June 2015, particularly against trade in counterfeit goods. The United States awaits improvements in copyright and trademark enforcement and the passage of long-overdue copyright legislation that is consistent with Kuwait’s international commitments. The United States stands ready to work with Kuwait toward resolving these important issues."

The Arab Times online (here) reports:

"KUWAIT CITY, May 10: The National Assembly unanimously approved the draft law on copyright and related rights in the first and second deliberations on Tuesday. Information Minister and State Minister for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah thanked the Parliament for adopting the law, considering its importance in the culture of Kuwait.

According to the report of the Educational, Cultural and Guidance Affairs Committee, Kuwait joined several regional and international conventions on intellectual property rights because of the need to protect copyright and related rights.

The law consists of 45 articles in three chapters. Article One defines ‘written work’ as every innovative literary, artistic or scientific work or a way of expression with significance or purpose. The same article defines ‘related rights’ as the rights inherent in the author’s copyright and anything similar in some respects (right of public performance, the right of producers of phonograms or right of broadcasting institutions).

Article Two states that protection accorded to copyright and related rights covers natural and legal persons — Kuwaitis, foreigners who are permanent residents in the State of Kuwait and foreigners from any of the member-States in the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works or in the World Trade Organization and others.

Article Four enumerates cases where protection is not applied as per the law.

Article Five states that national folklore is owned by the public so the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature must fully support such works.

Article Six stipulates that the moral rights of the author and his general successor over his written books is permanent and cannot be waived or confiscated.

Article Eight gives authority to the National Council for Culture, Arts and Literature to exercise the moral rights provided for in Article Six if the author dies without an heir, as well as the works of unknown authors.

Article 37 grants the customs authorities the right to order non-customs clearance for goods if any of the protected rights is violated. Article 38 mandates the Kuwait National Library to establish a register for depositing works, sound recordings, radio shows and performances, while the executive regulations should determine procedures and rules in this regard.

Article 39 stipulates the right of the concerned persons to lodge a complaint against decisions on refusal to register and deposit works.

Article 40 states that the Public Prosecution has the sole authority to investigate, act and prosecute in all crimes arising from the application of the law within the jurisdiction of the Criminal Division in the High Court to look into criminal proceedings stipulated in this law and allows submission of an appeal regarding its ruling."

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Kuwait - new trade mark registration procedures

The electronic copy of the Al Tamimi & Co law update arrived recently and includes an article on the 'New Kuwait Trademark Registration Procedures'. The full text can be found on their website here

Egypt - An overview of IP Laws in Egypt

The electronic copy of the Al Tamimi & Co law update arrived recently and includes 'An Overview of IP Laws in Egypt'. The full text can be found on their website here

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Saudi - amended Implementing Regulations for the Law for Patents relating to PCT applications

Following earlier reports (here and here) of the accession of Saudi Arabia to the PCT, news from good friends SMAS, Saba, and AGIP of the amendments to the implementing regulations relating to the implementation of the PCT in Saudi.

SMAS report in a circular sent by email in January 2016 that:

"King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (The Saudi patent office ) has issued the amended Implementing Regulations of the Law of Patents, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Varieties, and Industrial Designs, the Regulations included new provisions regarding patent applications filed under the PCT scheme. This came in line with accession of Saudi Arabia to the PCT. The major amendments could be outlined as follows:

  • The Saudi patent office became receiving office of international PCT applications.
  • The Patent Office shall consider the international filing date of the PCT application as the date of filing the national phase application. 
  • The annuity fees for national phase applications shall be based on the international filing date of the PCT application starting from the 1st annuity and shall be paid at the beginning of each Calendar year, starting with the year following the filing of the international application, where the said fees are paid , together with accumulated annuity fees.
  • All the formal requirements, including the legalized Power of Attorney, Deed Of Assignment and Priority documents, shall be fulfilled within 60 days from the filing date.
  • Correction of priority claim or addition of priority is possible through request submitted to the Patent Office provided that the conditions pertinent thereto, as stipulated by the Regulations, are fulfilled and the prescribed fees are paid .
  • Restoration of patent application which was rejected or abandoned due to reasons beyond applicant will, is possible through request submitted to the Patent Office provided the conditions pertinent thereto as detailed by Regulations are fulfilled and the prescribed fees are paid. 
  • In case applicant has not been able to comply with the request(s) of the Patent Office within the specified grace period it would be possible to request further two months extension prior to expiry of initial deadline provided the conditions pertinent thereto are fulfilled and the prescribed fees are paid . Annuity fees are exempted from such extension and should be paid within the prescribed grace period.
  • Multiple design applications are not acceptable in Saudi Arabia , and a design application should not incorporate more than 7 drawings.
The aforesaid new Implementing Regulations are effective as of 19 December 2015.

Should you need any assistance and/or information in respect of the above matter, please do not hesitate to contact us at saudi@smas-ip.com."

Saba's February newsletter (here) contained this report:

"Saudi Arabia recently published new Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law to include provisions concerning the national stage entry of PCT patent applications. These regulations entered into force starting December 19, 2015.

Revisions to the Implementing Regulations include the possibility of requesting extensions of time during prosecution, and the possibility to restore abandoned or canceled patent applications.

According to the new regulations, the international filing date will be the filing date of a PCT national entry and the base year for calculating annuities. Annuity fees for applications will still be due between January 1 and March 31 of each year, starting with the first payment that will include any back payments the year following the entry date. The usual grace period with a late fee will still apply through June 30 of the same year.

Should you have any questions, or require any additional information, please contact us at news@sabaip.com"

AGIP's January newsletter contained this report:

"The Patent office has implemented a new calculation of PCT National Phase annuity years as from January 1, 2016. The new calculation stipulates that the annuity year starts from the international filing date of the corresponding PCT application.

According to the Patent Office, all pending annuities are due for payment during the period from January 1st till March 31st, 2016.

The patent term of the Saudi Patents through PCT applications is 20 years calculated from the international filing date."

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

WIPO - PCT guides

News from WIPO that these parts of the PCT Guides have been updated:

Receiving Offices – Annex C:
Bahrain (here)
Egypt (here)
Qatar (here)
Saudi Arabia (here)
Syria (here)

International Searching Authorities – Annex D
Egypt (here)

International Preliminary Examining Authorities – Annex E
Egypt (here)

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Oman - eGovernment Services Portal

This part of the Empty Quarter has stumbled across the official Oman eGovernment Services Portal (oman.om), part of the government's eOman Strategy. The site is clearly set out and easy to use. Importantly, there is a section for Intellectual Property (here) and usefully a section on how to request a search of a trade name (here).

The Intellectual Property section links through to the website of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (here) where there are copies of the laws in Arabic.

This part of the Empty Quarter is delighted to see large amounts of useful information made available to businesses and consumers by the Omani government.

The UAE and Jordan sign an agreement to enhance joint efforts in SMEs, innovation and R&D

News from WAM (here) and Gulf News (here) of the signing of an agreement between the UAE and Jordan in November 2015. The report on WAM reads:

"The UAE Ministry of Economy and the Jordanian Ministry of Industry, Trade and Supplies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, envisaging a wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries in the fields of innovation and research, and developing Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs.

The three-year agreement, which consists of 13 clauses aims to build a long-term strategic alliance between the two sides.

The MoU was signed in Amman by Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, and Maha Ali, Jordanian Minister of Industry, Trade and Supplies, during the UAE-Jordan Economic Forum and in the presence of Dr Abdullah Al Nasour, Prime Minister of Jordan.

The MoU reflects the desire of both countries to set up a reciprocally beneficial network of business cooperation for young entrepreneurs running SMEs.

Both countries are also cooperating in the exchange of knowledge and expertise among relevant government departments, including the Jordan Investment Authority and Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, JEDCO, and equivalent UAE bodies such as the SMEs Council, SME Fund, and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The agreement will look into preparing a work plan to identify further areas of cooperation as well as to encourage government entities, business development centres, and private sector organisations to set up joint projects among SMEs focusing on technological innovation. It will also facilitate access to sources of funding, help SMEs explore viable market opportunities, and enable exchange of information on intellectual property rights pertaining to SMEs in both the UAE and Jordan.

In addition, the agreement will explore the possibility of cooperation for purposes of building networks of communication and brokerage business between important stakeholders involved in innovation initiatives such as companies, academic and research institutions, and business development firms, particularly those involved in the SME sector. The agreement will enable mutual coordination among various government departments to remove the commercial hurdles facing SMEs.

The MoU also envisages closer interaction among government, academic and private sector organisations in both countries on a regular basis, and another key aspect is the inclusion of social responsibility as an integral part of all partnerships developed as a result of this agreement.

Sultan Al Mansouri said that the MoU is consistent with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and in line with the UAE Cabinet's announcement of 2015 as the UAE Year of Innovation.

He said, "This MoU is part of our efforts to actualise the National Strategy for Innovation that Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched last year. The Vice President has stressed the need to deepen cultural innovation nation-wide. This vision reflects the Ministry's own strategy to expedite the process of transition to a knowledge economy based on creativity and innovation in tune with the UAE Vision 2021 that seeks to enhance the country's global competitiveness and economic sustainability." The UAE Minister of Economy pointed out that the importance of the MoU is highlighted with the fact that it focuses on three areas of paramount importance for the country, and they are: Innovation, SMEs and research and development.

He said, "These are areas that form the strategic pivot of the wise leadership?s determination to make the UAE a leader in many fields. Innovation is not a choice, but an imperative for any country trying to consolidate its position in the global economy. The UAE realised this early on and included innovation among its goals as far back as in its Vision 2012." Al Mansouri added, "Last year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the National Strategy for Innovation. The strategy included 30 initiatives to be implemented in three years. Covering seven sectors - energy, transportation, health, education, technology, water and space. The strategy proposed the setting up of the National Innovation Committee to convene a number of federal entities to work together on the execution of the National Innovation Strategy and to involve the private sector in the drive." Many public sector and private sector organisations have already commenced the establishment of innovation and development centres to organise economic and academic activities focused on innovation.

Al Mansouri went on to point out that SMEs played an important and contributory role in the national economy. "They were integral to the UAE's efforts to achieve sustainable development, and helped enhance the country's global competitiveness, while also supporting its transition to a knowledge economy based on creativity and innovation," he said.

The promotion of SMEs and encouragement of young entrepreneurs is also part of the UAE?s efforts to diversify its economy. SMEs currently constitute 94% of companies operating in the UAE, and contribute around 60% of the country's GDP. The UAE Government is looking to take this figure to 70% by 2021. In this context, strengthening cooperation with other countries with respect to SMEs is crucial to the UAE's economic sustainability objectives.

Also commenting on the agreement, the Jordanian Minister Maha Ali, said, "This MoU is an important bilateral partnership. It will add a new and collaborative dimension to the relations between our countries," confirming that innovation, SMEs and research and development is one of the important sectors of strategic development for both the UAE and Jordan."

Friday, 29 April 2016

UAE - WIPO domain name decision - osn.ae

News from WIPO (here) of the decision to order the transfer of the osn.ae domain from a local registrant. The local registrant had offered the domain for sale for AED50,000 but did not respond to the complaint.

Syria - Al Bassel Fair for Invention and Innovation in Damascus in November 2015

This is a very belated report of the Al-Bassel Fair for Invention and Innovation in Damascus. The information on the Syrian TV & Radio website (here) reported in November 2015:

"Activities of the 7th edition of al-Bassel Fair for Invention and Innovation were launched Damascus on Sunday.

The fair, which will be held at the Patent Center in Barzeh area, will see the participation of 360 inventors, including patent owners and school students.

Inventors from Egypt and Iraq will take part in the fair, which will run through next Thursday.

Coinciding with the fair, the 2nd National Contest of Invention and Innovation will be held, with this year’s edition focusing on reconstruction requirements.

Three tracked will be featured, with the first one covering 24 inventions related to prosthetic limbs and techniques helpful to people injured in terrorist attacks.

The second track will include 56 inventions focusing on electricity generation from renewable energy resources.

15 inventions related to debris recycling will be showcased under the third track.

The fair enjoys international support with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Federation of Inventors’ Associations, awarding 4 medals for the winners."

Qatar - WIPO domain name decision - olx.com.qa

News from WIPO (here) of the decision to order the transfer of the olx.com.qa domain from a local registrant. The local registrant consented to the transfer during the proceedings.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Saudia Arabia - on-line filing of renewals and tenfold increase in renewal publication fees

News from good friends Saba & Co and good friends Kadasa & Partners that the Trade Mark Office in Saudi Arabia has implemented on-line filing of trade mark renewals. It is not yet clear whether renewals must or may be filed on-line. Previous reports from last year here.

The roll out of on-line filing comes with a price. The official fees for publication of the renewal have been increased from SAR300 to SAR3,000 (about US$800). That increases the official fees for a renewal from US$880 to US$1,600 and brings the publication fees to the same level as for an application.

This follows earlier fee increases in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Iran - closed for New Year holidays for two weeks from 16 March 2016

Good friends Orim have confirmed that Tuesday 15 March 2016 is the last working day in Iran before the two week holiday for all government and private sector offices for New Year.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

UAE - specialist IP circuits to be launched in Federal Courts

News from the Emarat Alyoum website (here in Arabic) of Decision number 137 of 2016 from the Minister of Justice establishing IP circuits in the Federal Courts of the UAE. The report also refers to IP training for the judges in the circuits.

There is a report in English on the Gulf News website (here).

This part of the Empty Quarter is delighted by this news, having long hoped for (and lobbied for in his alternative life) the creation of specialist IP courts in the UAE. This specialist circuits should allow for all IP issues, and particularly more complex issues, to be heard with even greater certainty which will give greater confidence to businesses seeking to invest and innovate in the UAE.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Bahrain - possible official fee increases

Following on from the news (here) of official fee increases due in Kuwait from 21 December 2015, there is news today from good friends Saba & Co that official fees are due to increase in Bahrain, also from 21 December 2015. So far there is no detail on the increases in either country.


Monday, 21 December 2015

Libya - can you renew an expired registration?

There was a flurry of news in October and November about the Libyan Trade Mark Office (see here). News has arrived today by email from Beit Al-Khebra Intellectual Property who are based in Libya which appears to bring some clarity to the question of whether it is possible to renew an expired trade mark registration. The news reads:

Dear Sirs,
Greetings form Beit Al-Khebra Intellectual Property.

We have received several inquiries about what has lately been published by some IP Agents regarding the trademarks Registrar confirmation of the possibility to submit renewal applications in respect of expired trademarks, regardless to their expiry date, until 31 December 2015 and that after said date, all expired trademarks will be treated as cancelled.

In this regard, we would like to clarify the following:

As per article 1257 of the Commercial Act number 23 of the year 2010 which stated "The protection period of a registered trademark is ten years. The registration could be renewed for a similar period or periods according to the applicant during the last year of the protection period. The applicant may submit a renewal application after the expiry date and within a period of 6 months from the date of expiry (grace period). Wherein no application for renewal has been submitted by the applicant, the trademark office shall ex officio cancel the trademark from the register. Where cancellation of registration of a trademark has been duly entered, the trademark shall be re-registered in the name of the original applicant within a period of three years from the date of cancellation according to the law.

Accordingly, we had a meeting with the Registrar to clarify the subject matter and he advised the following:

1. No official decision has been issued in this regard from the Trademark Office. Therefore, all the news in this regard is baseless;
2. Any Trademark owner could at any time renew his trademark (whether expired or not) and pay the renewal fees, but this does not mean that the trademark had been renewed unless a final written decision from the Trademark Office is issued with relation of renewing the trademark;
3. Any trademark owner could at any time submit an application at the Trademark office to obtain official notices regarding the current status of his trademark prior to paying the renewal fees as not to pay the renewal fees for elapsed and cancelled trademarks.

Based on the above, we urge our client to be extra cautious regarding unofficial news in this regard.

As a Libyan IP Agent located in Libya, please rest assured that we will provide you with all the updates from the Trademark Office regarding any decisions concerning the trademarks. Our staff are in direct daily contact with the TMO team and are therefore on top of new decisions or amendments related to the trademark actions.

Should you require further information or clarification, please contact info@khebraip.com.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your collaboration and business and best wishes for a bright and successful year ahead.

With warm regards,
Beit Al-Khebra Intellectual Property (LLC)
Ibn Battuta St., Al-Siahiah | Apt. no. 03, 2nd Fl., Al-Sharif Bldg
P.O. Box: 71005 | Tripoli – Libya
T: +218.21.712.3117 | T: +218.91.315.2731 | F: +218.21.725.7854
Email: info@khebraip.com

Thursday, 26 November 2015

UAE - OSN tackling TV piracy

There are a number of reports of the same case involving action by OSN resulting in the conviction of an individual in the UAE (Al Arabiya, Al Bawaba, Gulf News).

The defendant was convicted of selling IP888 TV services and sentenced to three months in prison, a fine of DHs50,000 followed by deportation from the UAE. The reports refer to 213 actions across the GCC and Egypt and specifically refer to an increase in the use of IP TV services provided by UKTV Abroad, IP888 TV, Primetimetv.TV, Volka TV, Royal IPTV, GIPTV and Expat TV.

This part of the Empty Quarter feels that these reports are useful warnings to other sellers of the fact that OSN are active and targeting sellers of specific services.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Syria - Agreement with North Korea covers intellectual property

News from Syria of the signing by the Culture Ministry of an agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

The Syrian Radio & TV Online webiste (here) reports:

The Culture Ministry signed on Wednesday with the Embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) the executive program for cultural cooperation for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The program includes cooperation in the fields of cinema, theatre, music, plastic arts, copyrights, intellectual property, culture days, the Higher Institute of Music and the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts.

Cooperation in cinema will include holding film weeks in both countries and exchanging movie experts and participation in film festivals.

In theatre, the program will involve cooperation in exchanging visits of artistic bands and participation in music and theatre festivals, in addition to supporting cooperation between the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus and its counterpart in the DPRK.

The two sides will exchange expertise and visits and hold exhibitions in painting, sculpturing and publications in the framework of cooperation in the arts field, according to the program.

As for copyrights cooperation, both sides will encourage protection of literary and artistic groups and copyrights and intellectual property rights, especially at the international forums.

The program also provides for cooperation in the music field where both sides cooperate in teaching music, exchanging visits and holding culture days in both countries.

Culture Minister Issam Khalil said in a press statement following the singing that this program is part of activating cooperation between Syria and Democratic Korea as both countries face continuous attempts aimed at undermining their independent political decision and sovereignty.

In turn, Ambassador Jang Myong Ho of DPRK said the program shows that bilateral relationship between the two countries is developing in all fields.

UAE - launch of US$544 million Innovation Fund

Following on from the various events and announcements (here) relating to the Year of Innovation there are now many reports of a very substantial fund for innovation.

Sheikh Mohammed launches $544M innovation fund announces Al Bawaba (here)
Sheikh Mohammed sets up $544m innovation fund announces Gulf Digital News (here)
Dh2 billion fund to finance innovation projects launched in Dubai announces The National (here)

All the these relate to the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Fund to Finance Innovation.
Interestingly, all three report that "applicants need to have registered their project as intellectual property and the initial stage of the project must already be established, the Ministry of Finance said.

It will prioritise projects that contribute to the UAE Vision 2021 and in the seven sectors named in the national innovation strategy. They are: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space. The pilot phase of the initiative will be launched during the first half of next year followed by the official launch of the Fund’s operations in the second half of 2016. A small fee will be charged for all applications, “and the amount will depend on each individual request”. All projects will be evaluated by a “group of experts in respective areas” for their “effectiveness and practicality”."

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Egypt - Thomson Reuters partners with Presidential Council for Education and Scientific Research

A report on Zawya (part of Thomson Reuters) (here) of the partnership between Thomson Reuters and the Presidential Council for Education and Scientific Research in Egypt to 

"enhance its Knowledge Bank, to be launched in January 2016, to empower its scientists and prepare a new generation scholars with the needed tools and advisement to advance their research and increase global impact.

"This strategic partnership with Thomson Reuters is part of the Egyptian Knowledge Bank Project aimed at providing all Egyptian citizens with access to quality research and education materials," said Secretary General Secretariat of the Specialized Presidential Council for Education and Research, Tarek Shawki, PhD. "This agreement will provide all Egyptians with access to world-class publications and offer critical tools they need to excel in their education and research. The Presidential Council will also explore a wider range of Thomson Reuters ' products and solutions in the next four years."

Thomson Reuters will work with the Council to support the nation's research efforts by providing guidance through on going workshops and key tools, including Web of Science, InCites, Journal Citation Reports and Thomson Innovation to enable the nation's scientists and research institutions to successfully navigate the lifecycle of innovation, from discovery to protection to commercialization."

UAE - DDED seizes 353,000 fake items worth Dh12 million from 157 flats and warehouses during Q3 2015

A report in the Khaleej Times (here) that the DDED seized a total of 353,000 items worth Dh12 million from 157 flats and warehouses during the third quarter of 2015 according to the Ibrahim Behzad, the director of intellectual property protection at the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DDED)

There were a staggering 1,363 violations following 1,999 inspection visits across the city resulting in detentions of perfumes, cosmetics, vehicle spare parts, mobile phones, leather bags, and watches. 

UAE - A Year of Innovation, an Innovation Week, an Innovation Index and a lot of money to be invested in innovation

This part of the Empty Quarter has long admired the ability of the United Arab Emirates, and Dubai in particular, to get hold of an idea and make it work. The evidence of this for all to see.

This year is officially the Year of Innovation, in which not much had appeared to have been happening, until this the Innovation Week.

An investment of Dhs300 billion

As with many things UAE we shall start with the biggest announcement from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of the adoption of the Emirates Science, Technology and Innovation Higher Policy which includes 100 national initiatives in education, health, energy, transportation, space and water. Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "Planning a higher policy for the UAE in the fields of science, technology and innovation that includes scientific initiatives, legislative recommendations and clear financial investment is a strategic decision that aims to change the national economy equation to drive it away from depending on limited oil resources. Our aim, as my brother His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has said, "is to celebrate the last oil barrel we export because we will be prepared for that day when it comes."

The plan foresees an investment of over Dhs300 billion to build a vibrant knowledge economy in the UAE.

There are full reports in the Khaleej Times (here), Emirates 24/7 (here), Gulf Today (here), Gulf News (here), and Al Bawaba (here)

Importantly for this part of the Empty Quarter the Policy "includes new legislative frameworks to protect intellectual property and copyrights, attract scientists and researchers to the UAE's academic and research institutions and facilitate the easy movement of advanced scientific equipment and resources into the UAE."

The Innovation Week

Details on the UAE Innovates website (here) of the week long festival of innovation events.

Including, belatedly, details of the Intellectual Property & Technology Transfer Symposium hosted by the United Arab Emirates University details of which can be found here.

Top ranked in the Innovation Index

The Khaleej Times reports here that Dubai ranked top in the latest innovation index among Middle East countries and 16th globally. The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has created with PwC the Dubai Innovation Index as part of the Year of Innovation Innovation Week Of particular interest are the coments that intellectual property emerged as one area for improvement and that professional services turned out to be one of the least innovative sectors in Dubai.

UAE - DDED launches Advisory Board

Reports (Gulf News, Al Bawaba) of the creation of the Intellectual Property Protection Advisory Board by the Dubai Department of Economic Development (the DDED). The Board is to be the voice of rights holders to the DDED. It will be headed by a representative of the DDED and will have members from each industry sector. The Board is to meet every quarter and listen to the feedback and recommendations from the industry representatives on negative practices, if any, and devise strategies to combat them. It will also be involved in sharing of knowledge and best practices in IP protection.

This part of the Empty Quarter understands that the Gulf Brand Protection Group will be actively involved in the Board.

UAE - Dubai Customs detains 101 shipments in first 9 months of 2015

A report in the Khaleej Times (here) this week that Dubai Customs reported that in the first 9 months of this year they had detained 101 shipments of counterfeit goods.

Further, official figures show that Dubai Customs made 756 seizures of IPR infringing goods between 2012 and 2014 and that from early 2012 to the end of September 2015, Dubai Customs carried out 110 awareness seminars, attended by 4,600 people, and 16 workshops on methods for detection of counterfeits, with 446 participants from various government agencies tasked with fighting counterfeits.

Monday, 23 November 2015

UAE - Trade Mark Office - on-line system to go live from Sunday 6 December 2015

The Trade Mark Office has today announced by email to all agents that the on-line filing system will go live on 6 December 2015. The system had been tested by all agents from September 2015

The announcement from the Trade Mark Office reads (translated from Arabic):

We would like to let you know that starting Sunday 6 December 2015 we will launch the following electronic services:

1. Filing an application to register a trade mark.
2. Filing an application to renew trade mark registration.

This will be through the following link: https://services.economy.ae/m through which you can register a new username.

Please note that after submitting your application through electronic services, the forms of these services should be sent through regular mail to the office of the ministry in Abu Dhabi on P.O box 901 in the name of Trade Marks Department.

Please note that all the Customer Service Centres will stop receiving these application starting from the above mentioned date.

Should you have any queries please contact:
Mr. Mohammad Rayyan
Email: : Exceed_Mohammad@economy.ae
Tel: 043141647

Mr. Mahdi Masoud
Email: : mmahrous@economy.ae
Tel: 026131434


The announcement is interesting for a number of reasons. The on-line system is limited to filing the application to renew or register the mark. All other parts of the process will continue to be handled in the usual way without the on-line system (i.e. by email and paper). Paper copies of the application file must be submitted by regular post to the Trade Mark Office in Abu Dhabi and neither the main office or the branch in Abu Dhabi will accept paper applications or the paper files (the risk of the paper files going missing is notable). There is no mention of how payment of official fees can be made.  

This part of the Empty Quarter feels that a cynic might ask if the sole benefit of the new system is that it simply transfers the burden of data entry from the Trade Mark Office to the local agent. To which a response might be that accuracy of records is vital and perhaps the local agents can assist the Trade Mark Office in achieving that. There will be further developments in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Arab Ministers of Justice meeting to include Intellectual Property

News from the Kuwait News Agency (here) of a meeting in Cairo on 18 and 19 November 2015 of the Arab Justice Ministers. Among many other issues the report says that the Ministers will consider unification of Arab legislation for protection of intellectual property.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Jordan - DealMakers 2015 event

News of the DealMakers 2015 event hosted in Amman, Jordan on Friday 20 November 2015 by Endeavour Jordan here.

The event has a numbner of workshops - two of which are of particular interest - one on Innovation through Intellectual Property and a second on Navigating the Legal Landscape.

Kuwait - 8th International Invention Fair in the Middle East - 16 to 19 November 2015

News of the 8th International Invention Fair in the Middle East held in Kuwait.

The main website for the event is here and various news reports are here, here, here, here and here.