As the clock ticks down, the state of Qatar’s nonstop preparations for hosting the world’s largest sporting event gets increasingly intense. The FIFA World Cup 2022 is not just the world’s largest sporting event, but also one of the world’s largest international events, bringing together people from all over the world in one location. Because such a massive event needs a set of laws and regulations to ensure a successful and stable hosting experience, the Qatari Legislator has released a set of laws pertaining to the FIFA World Cup 2022. The author will provide a quick review of the FIFA Intellectual Property Law (Law No. 11 of 2021 on the protection of trademarks, copyrights, and associated rights of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association “FIFA”) in this article.
Procedures are completed in a shorter amount of time
All FIFA rights must be registered, either directly or via an authorized agency, with FIFA. FIFA has the authority to obtain information on whether a trademark, copyright, or adjacent right has been registered or whether an application for registration has been filed. FIFA must be notified of the inquiry results within three days by the Designated Officer at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“MOCI”).
Article (2) of the Law gave the designated “Office” within the Ministry of Commerce and Industry a number of responsibilities, as well as the need to reply in a reasonable amount of time, as explained below:
- Existing (Trademark, Copy Rights, and Neighboring Rights) investigation – The office must respond in (3) days starting the date of request received. Article (3)
- Registering the licensing contract using the Trademark in the registry – The office must take action in (15) days starting the date of request received. Article (4)
- Registering Trademarks – The office must act in (15) days starting the date of request receival, in addition, The Office shall not reject nor ask for modifications on the aforementioned request unless there was a previously registered trademark, however, FIFA can submit a grievance to the competent committee which must respond in (15) days. – Article (5)
- The Law stipulated several other responsibilities on The Office, the duration of (15) days – For The Office to respond- is not exceeded.
The Designated Office shall take the necessary steps to finalize the registration and the publication of such registration in the newspapers once a decision is issued by the Designated Office approving the registration or a decision is issued in favor of FIFA pursuant to a grievance filed in this regard.
Within fifteen days of the registration’s publication, any interested party may send a written notification to the Designated Office challenging FIFA’s registration, stating the reasons for the challenge.
Article (7) of the law addresses an important issue by granting recognition and protection to any FIFA trademark, even if it is not officially registered in Qatar. The only requirement is that the trademark is registered in any member country of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, of which Qatar is a signatory. The Legislator specifically specified in article (1) that the protection is effective until the end of the FIFA World Cup 2022, notably in the definition of FIFA-owned Trademarks.
FIFA was excused from providing the declaration required by Article 45 of Law No. (7) of 2002 under Article 9. Furthermore, FIFA was exempted from all payments associated with the registration or deposit of trademarks, publications, audio recordings, performances, and radio broadcasts under Article ten.
After reviewing the FIFA IP Law, it is evident that the legislator is prepared to continue on the previously successful path of hosting the FIFA 2022 World Cup by enacting legislation that focuses on providing FIFA with more trademark and copyright protection.