Iraq's Trademark Law amended
The Coalition Provisional Authority headed by Paul Bremer has issued a document amending the Trademarks and Descriptions Law 21 of 1957 with effect from April 26 2004. The law has been renamed Trademark and Geographical Indications Law.
The amendments can be summarized as follows:
- The definition of a mark has been broadened to include any sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from the goods or services of another undertaking, including shapes and colours. Collective and certification marks, including geographical indications, may be registered.
- The term of a registration has been reduced from 15 years to 10 years and will be renewable for additional 10-year terms. Belated renewal is now possible within six months of expiration of the registration.
- A single application may be filed to cover multiple classes of goods and/or services in accordance with the Nice Classification.
- Well-known marks are protected even if such marks are not registered in Iraq.
- Any interested person may apply to the courts within five years of the registration of a mark for its cancellation, stating the supporting grounds. However, a petition to cancel a registration of a mark may be filed at any time if the mark:
o becomes the generic name for the goods or services, or a portion thereof, for which it is registered;
o is functional;
o was obtained fraudulently or contrary to the provisions of registrability;
o has been unused for an uninterrupted period of three years, unless such non-use may be proved to be due to uncontrollable cause or lawful excuse; or
o is being used by, or with the permission of, the registrant so as to misrepresent the source of the goods or services on or in connection with which the mark is used.
- The penalties for offences relating to trademarks have been increased, including longer prison terms and larger fines.
Bharati Bakshani, Ladas & Parry, New York
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