Saudi Arabia issued a new trademark law on 6 September 2002. This law will come into effects as of 5 December 2002. The most significant changes brought by this law are:
- The time limit for filing public rights claims (criminal proceedings) regarding trademark infringement/ counterfeiting have been extended from three years to five years. However this does not apply to private or personal rights of trademark owners to initiate infringement and/ or counterfeit claims (civil claims).
- The Minister of Commerce will appoint officers to report and take action against any violations to this system or its executive list. The said officers will have the authority to:
- Search any store/ premises they suspect or were informed through a complaint filed with the board of Grievances that it deals with counterfeits.
- Seize all counterfeit goods after taking three samples of the same. One sample is to be sent to the public Prosecutor and the other two are submitted later during the criminal proceedings.
- Conduct an immediate investigation with the dealer/ infringer, after which, the Under-Secretary of Internal Trade will send the findings together with the investigation report and a sample of the counterfeit goods to the Public Prosecutor with a request to initiate criminal proceedings before the Board of Grievances.
- Carry out and execute the orders of the Board of Grievances with the assistance of the police.
- The pecuniary penalties regarding infringements/ counterfeiting have been increased to no less than 50,000.00 SR (US$ 13,333.00) and no more than 1,000,000.00 (US$ 266,666.00).
- The Grievances & Oppositions Committee (which previously handled oppositions and appeals) has been resolved and replaced by the Board of Grievances (Saudi Court of Law in charge of enforcing the Trademark Law).
- Visibility of a trademark has become a requirement for registration of any trademark. It is not possible to register invisible trademarks such as sounds or scents.
- Renewals can be affected within the last year of validity or within a grace period of six months upon payment of late fine (previously, NO grace period was allowed).
- Adoption of the 8th Edition of the Nice Classification of Goods/ services.
Should you require further information regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.