Trademark registration in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), is a country in Western Asia. Saudi Arabia is considered both a regional and middle power. The Saudi economy is the largest in the Middle East and eighteenth-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia also has one of the world’s youngest populations. Saudi Arabia is also a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council and an active and founding member of the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League, and OPEC. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn the procedure of trademark registration in Saudi Arabia.
Trademark in Saudi Arabia
A mark that is registrable as a trademark in Saudi Arabia can be any names, words, signatures, letters, symbols, numbers, titles, stamps, drawings, pictures, inscriptions, packaging, figurative elements, shapes or color, groups of colors, or combinations thereof.
In addition, as a new update, a sound mark or a smell mark can also be registered as trademarks in this country.
In general, any sign or a group of signs that is able to distinguish the goods or services of one party from the goods or services of another party can be registered as a trademark in Saudi Arabia.
The benefits of registering a trademark in Saudi Arabia
When registering a trademark in Arabia, the trademark owner will get the following benefits:
- Exclusively use of the trademark;
- The rights to detect, contain, and stop unauthorized use of their trademark, as well as any copies, imitations of their trademark applied on goods without the agreement of the trademark owner;
- Gain recognition on the market overtime;
- License for commercial use by third parties;
- Gain increasingly benefits from the market value of the trademark;
Necessary documents for trademark registration in Saudi Arabia
Necessary documents for trademark registration in Saudi Arabia include:
- The application for trademark registration in Saudi Arabia;
- Detailed information of the applicant (name, nationality, and address, etc.);
- Detailed information of the representative or attorney (name, nationality, and address, etc.);
- Classification of goods and/or services;
- Trademark sample;
- Priority documents (If any);
- The prescribed fee;
- Other necessary documents.
The procedure of trademark registration in Saudi Arabia
To obtain trademark protection in Saudi Arabia, the applicant needs to file their trademark application to the IP Office of Saudi Arabia.
After receiving the application, the examiner will conduct a thorough formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness, and a search for prior trademarks to check if the application complies with the law and if the intended mark is registrable or not.
Protocol for rejection and opposition of the trademark application
If there are errors in the application, whether on the classes of the mark or the lack of key information, etc., the applicant will receive the Registrar’s official notice in writing and has the responsibility to respond and comply with the request in 3 months.
If the examiner deems the application can’t go further, they will issue a rejection notice to the applicant and/or their representative.
If the applicant is unsatisfied with the reason for rejection, he/she can file a complaint before the Complaints Committee within 60 days from the date of the notification of the rejection.
The Minister’s decision may be appealed before the Board of Grievances (First Instance Court).
If the application has no errors and the trademark application receive opposition action during the opposition period after the publication of the trademark application (2 months), the applicant needs to prepare their case and respond within a set amount of time.
Renewal and use requirement of the registered trademark
If there are no oppositions, the trademark will be registered and have a protection period of 10 years from the filing date according to the Hegira (Islamic) calendar. The registration is renewable for similar periods of 10 years each.
It should be noted that the calendar of Saudi Arabia is a little different compared to the traditional calendar used worldwide.
The Hegira calendar is equivalent to approximately 9 years and 8 months compared to the normal calendar.
Accordingly, the trademark owner might be confused about the time to file for renewal of their trademark and misses the deadline.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia also provides a grace period of 6 Hegira months to file for renewal upon payment of a late renewal fee.
In Saudi Arabia, the mark is not needed to be in use for it to be registered. Nonetheless, the trademark owner must use the mark for a period of 5 years in a continuation, or else the trademark might be vulnerable to cancellation action filed by third parties.
You can see a list of Saudi Arabia IP firms here.