The Minister of Commerce issued a decision on 7 June 2003 to cancel all trademark applications filed between 1981 to 2002. Owners of trademarks filed prior to the opening of the new Trademark Office will have to re-file their trademarks in order to obtain protection in Libya. This decision was made in spite of all efforts we and other IP firms exerted to cancel this decision. The Minister justified this decision with the following points:
- These applications were submitted to the Companies Registrar, where according to the Trademark Law, they should have been filed with the Trademark Registrar (whose position was vacant during the above-mentioned period). Thus, the Minister considered them to be submitted to an unauthorized body.
- The majority of these applications were filed by agents who have not obtained the necessary trademark agent’s license.
- A considerable amount of these applications do not have orderly files; i.e. formal documents, filing receipts and payment receipts are missing.
- The Trademark Office does not have the capability of examining the huge number of pending applications filed between 1981-2002.
- The new Trademark Office opened in December 2002, however, the decision regarding the previously filed marks was not concluded until June 2003 due to extensive deliberations.
- Furthermore, the Trademark Office is currently very strict in granting trademark agent licenses and in accepting applications, which must be accompanied by all formal documents at the time of filing:
- Power of attorney duly legalized up to the Libyan Consulate.
- Certified copy of certificate of incorporation or extract from the commercial register duly legalized up to the Libyan Consulate and accompanied by a verified sworn English and Arabic translations.