Intellectual Property in Qatar
What is intellectual property and why is it important to protect the intellectual property of my business?
Your intellectual property is an asset of your business and should be protected to prevent unauthorised use or misuse by others. If you have a trademark that identifies your business or the goods or services that you supply to your customers, then you would not want others to use the trademark without your consent. Similarly, if you have invented a product or a process, then you would not want others to copy your product or process without your consent.
(a) What sort of marks can be registered and how long is the protection period?
A mark which is a distinctive form of a name, signature, word, design, picture, drawing, etc is eligible for registration.
A trademark may be registered for ten years and the registration may be renewed for further ten-year periods.
The owner of a registered trademark has the exclusive right to use the trademark on the goods for which the trademark is registered and may prevent other parties from using the trademark on their products.
(b) Will my trademark registration cover all types of goods or services?
You will have to register your trademark in specific categories, known as "classes", of goods and services. The list of classes and the products or services that fall within each class can be found on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (Click here)
(c) How do I register my trademark?
- You would first have to decide on the type of trademark that you want to register. For example, is the trademark a word or a logo? If the trademark is a word, should it be in Arabic or in Roman script? Do you want it in a specific colour?
- You would also have to decide which class you want your trademark to be registered in (refer to section (b) above). It might be advisable to carry out an official search to check if other similar marks have been registered in that class. The official search form can be obtained from the offices of the Ministry of Business and Trade – Industrial Property Office or on its website (Click here). The fee for the search is QR 1,000 for each mark in each class.
- A completed application form for registration of the trademark would have to be submitted to the Ministry of Business and Trade – Industrial Property Office, together with the necessary fees. The application fee is QR 1,000 for each mark in each class. A copy of the application can be obtained from the offices of the Ministry or on its website (Click here). You would normally have to attach copies of the trademark to the application.
- If you appoint someone else to submit the application on your behalf, you would have to grant the person a Power of Attorney to do so.
(a) What inventions can be patented and how long is the protection period?
- According to the Patent Law, an invention can be a physical product, an industrial process or a manufacturing method. An invention is patentable if it is new, based on an innovation and has industrial applicability. The invention should be compatible with Shari’ah principles, public order or public morals and shall not affect national security.
- Patents are protected for an initial period of twenty years upon registration. Between the filing of the patent application and the grant of the patent, the invention shall be given the same protection as afforded under the patent itself.
- The patent owner has the right to use the invention, including manufacturing or selling it and other parties shall not be entitled to use a patent without the owner's consent.
(b) How do I apply for a patent?
Patent applications are currently processed by the GCC Patent Office in Riyadh. More information on applications can be found on their website.
- Original literature and artistic works are protected under the law and such works include books, computer software, video and audio tapes, dramas and musical works etc.
- There is no requirement to register such works with the authorities to be granted copyright protection under Qatari law. Protection is granted for the duration of the life of the author plus 50 years after his death.
- The copyright owner has certain exclusive rights to the works, including reproducing, translating and making excerpts of the works, distribution and public performance of the works.