New Intellectual Property Law enters into force

Iran's new Intellectual Property Law, which was passed by Parliament in its open session of January 23 2008, has been published and is now in force. The new law provides protection to industrial designs, patents, trademarks and trade names.
Under the new law, an application for the registration of a trademark or a trademark registration may be contested where the mark at issue:
  • is incapable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises;
  • is contrary to religious requirements, public order or good morality;
  • is likely to mislead the public or trade circles as to the geographical origin, nature or characteristics of the goods or services concerned;
  • is identical to, imitates or contains an armorial bearing, flag and other emblem, or the name, abbreviation or initials of, or an official sign or hallmark adopted by, any state, intergovernmental organization or organization created by an international convention, unless authorized by the competent authority of that state or organization;
  • is identical or confusingly similar to, or constitutes a translation of, a mark or trade name which is well known in Iran for identical or similar goods or services of another enterprise;
  • is well known and registered in Iran for services which are not identical or similar to those in respect of which registration is sought, provided, in the latter case, that: 

    • use of the mark in relation to those goods or services indicates a connection between those goods or services and the owner of the well-known mark; and
    • the interests of the owner of the well-known mark are likely to be damaged by such use; and
  • is identical to a mark which belongs to a different proprietor and is already registered (or has an earlier filing or priority date) in respect of the same goods or services (or closely related goods or services), or so nearly resembles such a mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.
In addition, the new law amends the opposition procedure. The opposing party may now file an opposition within 30 days of the publication of an application in the Trademark Gazette based on one or more of the abovementioned grounds. The registrar must send a copy of the opposition to the applicant and the applicant must provide the registrar with a counterstatement detailing the grounds on which the application relies. Should the applicant fail to do so, the application will be deemed to have been abandoned.
A significant development under the new law is the protection of published applications. The law prescribes that once an application is published, the applicant has the same rights as it would have if the mark were registered. 
Mohammad Badamchi, HAMI Legal Services, Tehran, with the assistance of Yasaman Baharamst, Raysan Patent & Trademark Agents, Tehran 

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