The Ministry of Economy and Commerce has announced the launch of the electronic trademark registration service for entrepreneurs through the Ministry’s website.
This comes within the framework of the Ministry’s keenness to continuously improve and develop its services in a bid to upgrade the Business Services System in Qatar and facilitate the delivery of services through the adoption of global best practices in the field of intellectual property. The new service also provides a high-quality integrated electronic system to support owners of trademarks as well as to protect the intellectual property rights and exclusive right of trademark owners to financial proceeds in accordance with applicable laws, conventions and international treaties.
According to the new system, the submission of applications and their review is conducted electronically to ensure service quality and that the applications are completed at the scheduled time before a final decision on trademark registration is made. The new system aims to facilitate the delivery of services to the public and reduce the time and burden assumed by the applicant.
Also, periodic reports will be issued through the new electronic system to guarantee service quality.
Requirements for trademark registration
The Ministry outlined the conditions that must be met before the registration of a trademark, noting that a trademark should be distinct rather than descriptive. The Ministry said the trademark should be a recognizable sign which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. The trademark should not fall under the category of marks that may not be registered under National Law No. 9 of 2002. Applicants should also respect the deadline stipulated in the law to respond to the decisions of the competent ministry department.
Steps to request the registration of a trademark through the Ministry’s website
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce outlined steps to request the registration of a trademark through the ministry’s website https://services.mec.gov.qa, which allows the applicant to register and protect his trademark and receive a certificate proving his exclusive trademark rights if all conditions are met.
The user must log on to the system, specify the type of the trademark (trademark, group of trademarks, collective trademark), and then fill out the applicant’s data, address, category or categories under which the trademark will be registered as well as manifesto of the goods and services on which the trademark will be placed.
The attachments are then uploaded including the commercial register (if any) and an image of the trademark. When the application is completed, the required service fee shall be paid according to the type of trademark to be registered (QR 1000 for a trademark, QR 1500 for a group of trademarks and QR 3000 for a collective trademark.)
After the applicant pays the fees, a receipt including the transaction number, the number of the trademark and its category as well as the payment date and amount will be issued. The applicant can track the status of his application by clicking on the transaction number on his user page.
After the Office examines the application and issues its acceptance report, a fee is paid for publication in the trademark gazette. The applicant must then wait for 4 months from the date of publication, namely, the period of opposition, during which interested parties can file a justified objection after paying the required fees. A hearing can be requested before a decision is issued regarding the objection.
If no objection is filed or a court order is issued to dismiss the objection, the applicant shall be notified to pay the trademark registration fee according to the type of the trademark. After the fees are paid, the trademark is published once again in the gazette and a sealed and trademark certificate is issued.
Benefits of trademark registration
The Ministry outlined the benefits of registering a trademark which enables entrepreneurs to seek protection against unfair competition and impose penalties stipulated in the national law on competitors who infringe the legitimate intellectual property rights relating to the registered trademark in Qatar. Other benefits also include the possibility of providing evidence and referring violations to judicial authorities to prove the rights of the registered trademark owner and seek appropriate compensation, in addition to blocking the registration of a mark as a trade name for commercial companies competing for the registration of a trademark in Qatar.
Other benefits also include supporting national industries and trade, since the owner of a mark can use it to market his products or third-party products by granting others a license to use the trademark for a financial return under a license contract or by waiving the trademark under a written contract. The Ministry also offers proof of a waiver or license contract after submitting the required documents and paying their fees.
In this context, the Ministry noted that in order to ensure the continued protection of the registered trademark, a renewal application must be submitted during the last year of the protection period and fees must be paid according to the type of the trademark. The trademark may be renewed within six months following the expiry of the protection period.
The repercussions of failing to register a trademark
The Ministry also highlighted the repercussions of failing to register a product or service trademark such as allowing third parties or competitors to use a counterfeit mark or to register a trade name similar to the original unregistered trademark. Under such a scenario, the original trademark owner loses his rights under Law No. 9 of 2002 because he failed to register the mark and becomes responsible for proving his right against competitors in the courts.
The Ministry of Economy and Commerce had previously launched services relating to the issuance of certificate of deposits and the protection of copyright and neighboring rights. Other services enable the public and intellectual property agents to electronically register patent applications through the Ministry’s website.
Ministry of Economy and Commerce launches electronic trademark registration service