GCC Trademark Law - moving closer using different routes

International

Recent articles in the Saudi Arabian press have reported that the Implementing Regulations for the Trademark Law of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states were discussed at a meeting of the Supreme Council of the GCC earlier this year.

This recent development means that attention now turns to the implementation of the Trademark Law of the GCC states published in 2013, and when it will come into force in each of the six GCC states - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

It is understood that the drafting of the Implementing Regulations is reaching its final stages, with publication anticipated in early 2016.

The implementation of legislation on a regional basis across the GCC states requires an agreed structure which is effective in each jurisdiction. This also means that each state has to publish enacting national laws to give effect to GCC laws and implementing regulations, as well as repealing existing laws.

At the time of writing, some countries have taken steps to issue such national laws (Bahrain, Qatar and, to some extent, Kuwait). However, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have yet to publish their national laws which will give effect to the GCC Trademark Law and its Implementing Regulations.

On the basis that the Implementing Regulations are published in early 2016, the GCC Trademark Law should come into force in the second half of 2016.

However, the flexibility of the GCC legislative system means that the timing of the implementation of the GCC Trademark Law in each of the GCC states may vary. In addition, there may be some local modifications in the text of the law.

At this stage, it is not possible to assess whether there will be significant variations to the law across the GCC states. We will have to wait for the legislation process to be completed in each of the states, at which time we will know precisely when the law will come into force in each state and in which form.

Saba Al Sultani and Jon Parker, Clyde & Co, Dubai

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