The State of Qatar adopted the new Industrial Designs Law No.10 of 2020 which stipulates specifically defined elements for industrial design protection and criteria.
The new law has been published in the Official Qatari Gazette No. 9 in the 10th of May 2020, regulating several aspects of the industrial design criteria, such as: unregistered designs, refusal grounds for industrial design registration, protection period, priority date, licensing, compulsory licensing, precautionary measures, and the criminal liability for industrial design infringement.
The new industrial design law includes 38 articles aimed to control and set a mechanism for industrial designs protection in the state of Qatar. Prior to that, limited protection was granted under the Trademarks Law No.9 of 2002. Article 45 which stated that “The Trademarks related provisions of this Law shall apply on industrial designs and models, without prejudice to their special character”.
Below we provide a summary of the provisions under this new law.
Articles 1 – 2: Definitions
Includes definitions for the most used word and phrases in the law, with a specific definition for the industrial design as “any two or three-dimensional composition of lines and colors that gives any industrial or craft product a specific appearance that is not only for a functional or technical purpose”. In addition to a special provision for the foreigner registration which is subjected to reciprocity clause.
Articles 3 – 6: Industrial Design Register
A new register for Industrial designs is required to be established in the IPPO, where all registered Industrial Designs shall be recorded, including the following information:
- Industrial Design owner’s details
- Title assignments or transfers
- Issued licenses
- License beneficiaries
- Renewal and cancellation information
- Issued judgments
- Any other matter in accordance with the rules and regulations
Moreover, The Designs Law grants the right for any person to view the register of Industrial Designs and/or request or extract information for a certain amount of fees.
In addition, these provisions included an exception stating that the novelty would not fail for earlier disclosure of the industrial design if it occurred within six months from the filing date in a national or an international exhibition.
Articles 7 – 11: Industrial Design Registration
A list of what is deemed non-registrable according to this law includes:
- Designs or models serving the technical and functional features of a product
- Designs or models comprising religious symbols and logos
- Designs or models comprising seals, emblems, and/or flags related to any country or an international organization
- Designs or models that are considered contrary to public order
- Designs or models identical or look similar to a registered or to a well-known (famous) trademark.
The industrial design application would be examined by the IPPO. However, the IPPO may require an amendment to the application, where the applicant should abide within 90 days of the notice date. Otherwise, the application would be refused.
The IPPO registration decision could be appealed within 30 days of the decision date to the grievances and compensations committee, where the decision would be issued within 30 days as a final decision.
If the application is approved by the IPPO; the acceptance letter should be published in accordance with the procedures which shall be determined in a Regulation issued for this purpose, pursuant to this law. Any third part may oppose the approval within 60 days of the publication date in accordance with the procedures which determined by this law.
In case of registration approval, the registration date would be the filing date of the industrial design application.
Articles 12 – 17: Granted Rights
The owner of a registered Industrial Design has the exclusive right to prohibit third parties from manufacturing, selling, distributing, importing or exporting any goods displaying the Industrial Design, unless the owner has sold such goods in another country or permits a third party to do so.
The protection is granted for five years starting from the date of application submission in Qatar but is only renewable for two more similar time periods.
Articles 18 – 28: Licensing and Compulsory Licensing
In order for a license to be effective, an agreement authorizing the use of an Industrial Design must be in writing and registered at the IPPO.
The new Qatari law provides for the creation of a committee by a Council of Ministers decision to research the issuance of mandatory licenses for the purposes of exploiting such rights for the benefit of the public.
If such permit is approved, the committee will determine the financial rights of the Industrial Design owner.
Articles 29 – 34: Provisional Measures and Penalties
Upon the exclusivity of the rights granted to the owner of a registered Industrial Design, breach of such rights by a third party allows to:
- The seizure of infringing projects (with a court order)
- Imprisonment of up to three years and/or up to a million Qatari Riyal fine (as well as publication of the judgment at the expense of the convicted person or double these penalties in respect of a repeated infringement)
- A claim for compensation for direct damages suffered by the plaintiff due to the breach, including third party earnings.
The awaited detailed implementing regulations will clarify a number of provisions of the Designs Law and until further notice, the current process remains the same. However, by analyzing the provisions of the law, strong protection is expected for the owners of Industrial Designs and models in Qatar.
For further information, please contact Baianat-IP Doha Office at Qatar@baianat-ip.com