Jehad Al Hassan


What is your greatest professional achievement to date?

As far as achievements go, I do not believe there is one that has been the greatest. Instead, a series of achievements over the years come to mind. Being the youngest regional IP manager while working with one of the largest IP firms in the world was an achievement in itself, considering the short period in which I reached that position. As a business owner, I have achieved exponential growth in under 20 years from a simple office and expanded my organisation across the Middle East and North Africa with fully staffed and operational offices, which gives me great pride. I am from humble beginnings; over the years, every professional achievement – big or small – has brought me joy.

As a CEO, what makes a strong trademark prosecution team in your view, and how do you go about building one?

A strong trademark prosecution team is built on the basis of having skilled and competent individuals with easy-to-follow internal processes. I have always believed in simplifying tasks and compartmentalising each stage of any process, after which I would delegate them to appropriate individuals with overall supervision. Macro-managing and being able to be micro-informed have worked wonders. Having such a resilient system also gives me ample flexibility to meet clients’ expectations and work according to evolving situations. This also helps when new individuals join the team because they can integrate seamlessly into the fold.

How have your clients’ needs evolved over the course of your career, and how has your firm adapted to manage them?

Over the years, clients’ needs have evolved in many ways, mostly to match how the IP industry has developed to cope with innovations and new technology. In the early days of my practice, the IP domain was fairly limited, with a poor understanding of its scope in our region. This has drastically changed; young entrepreneurs and inventors are acutely aware of their intellectual property’s potential and have a great interest in protecting it. In parallel, clients’ needs to enforce their rights have become a primary focus of the practice – aside from prosecution – as, along with technological development, infringers and counterfeiters have become more sophisticated, requiring innovative tools and measures from practitioners.

What are the most important factors for foreign brand owners to consider when seeking to file an application in the Middle East and/or North Africa?

Most Middle Eastern and North African countries are expensive first-to-file jurisdictions. That said, foreign brand owners should understand that having a registration certificate from these jurisdictions has immense advantages for ensuring their rights and provides options to act fast against third parties. Without registration, approaching judicial bodies for recourse is expensive and often time consuming.

Another recommendation is in terms of language. Arabic is the official and most commonly used language in the region, and it is easier to enforce marks in the same language. It is also advisable to register the correct version of the trademark’s transliteration in Arabic, as it may mitigate issues that would arise when enforcing trademark rights against confusingly similar Arabic transliterations.

You are an active participant in consulting boards for semi-governmental bodies and in national/international IP-related forums. How do you predict future legislative developments to influence the Middle Eastern IP landscape in the next 12 months?

Legislative developments have gained pace in the countries under my purview, with several adopting new laws and procedural changes. A recent example is the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) adoption of Federal Decree Law No 36 in 2021. It came into effect in 2022, but its implementing regulations are not fully codified and will mostly fall into place in the coming months. The UAE has also adopted the Madrid System, and procedures dealing with international applications are expected to be clarified soon. In the same vein, the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property has called for consultations on the adoption of the Madrid System for Saudi Arabia. That decision may also be declared this year, which in turn will have to be adopted by a new law. These changes will further integrate the region into the international IP community. Many other developments are in the works, which could further alter the entire landscape of the region.

Jehad Al Hassan

Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]

JAH chief executive officer Jehad Al Hassan has over 30 years of experience in the IP field in the Middle East and North Africa region, acting as an advisor and representative for clients’ IP protection and legal services. While based in Qatar, Mr Hassan oversees the operations of offices in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, ensuring unparalleled access for clients within the relevant jurisdiction

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