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|Kuwait||Info-Prod Country Guide|
BUSINESS FORMS & STRUCTURES
CURRENCY & BANKING
TAXATION INVESTMENT & TRADE PUBLIC PROCURMENT LABOR LAW ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
Although Kuwait’s protection of intellectual property rights is not especially strict by international standards, the Kuwait government is currently considering new legislative measures in this field.
Law No. 4 of 1962 provides for the registration of patents and industrial models in Kuwait. Although the Patent Law was enacted in 1962, the Patent Office in Kuwait was opened only in 1995, after a resolution adopted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states calling for a unifying of the patent registration systems of the member countries.
The Kuwait Patent Office is located in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Once an application is filed with the Registrar of Patents, no further action is taken by the Patent Office since the Patent Office has not yet started the process of conducting examinations of patent applications. Opposition actions are not available in Kuwait.
The validity of a patent is fifteen years from the date of filing the application, and the validity of an industrial model is five years from the date of filing the application.
The Kuwaiti government is presently preparing a draft law for the protection of patents to replace the current law discussed above. The draft, if adopted, would, inter alia, narrow the definition of a patent and lengthen the validity period to twenty years.
Trademarks and Service Marks
Kuwait follows the international classification of trademarks with a few exceptions. In accordance with Islamic mores, the Trademark Law does not protect trademarks or service marks in classes 32 and 33 relating to alcoholic beverages and pork. Following the filing of an application to register a trademark, the application is examined as to registrability. The law allows an opposition to be filed by any interested party. An opposition requires the applicant for the registration to submit a counterstatement in order to maintain the application. In the absence of any opposition or the rejection of any filed oppositions, the trademark is registered.
A trademark registration is valid for ten years from the date of filing the application. The trademark registration is renewable for additional periods of ten years each. A trademark which lapses because of non-renewal may be registered in the name of a third party three years following the lapsed registration.
Use of the trademark in Kuwait is not a prerequisite for registration or for maintaining its validity. A trademark is vulnerable to cancellation, however, if a party convinces the court that the trademark was not actually used in Kuwait for five consecutive years or that no bona fide use of the trademark was made.
Assignment of a trademark is effective with regard to third parties only after the assignment has been entered in the register and published in the Official Gazette.
Unauthorized use or imitation of a registered trademark are offenses punishable by law.
Kuwait has no copyright law. As a result, there is extensive and overt marketing of pirated software, cassettes, videotapes and unauthorized Arabic translation of foreign-language books.
The Kuwaiti government is currently preparing a draft law for the protection of copyrights to be submitted to the national assembly.
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