His Highness Shaikh Tamimi Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani issued the Law No. (10) of 2020 regarding the Protection of Drawings and Industrial Designs.
Article (2) of the Protection of Drawings and Industrial Designs Law (the “Law”) gives a greater attention and care to the international commitments entered into by the State of Qatar pursuant to the various international and regional treaties such as the WTO treaty, GCC treaty on trademarks and Paris convention of the protection of industrial property. The Law grants the non-Qataris, who take an active or a real place of business in one of the member states in the WTO, the same rights granted by the Law to Qataris provided that they are nationals or residents of countries which deal with Qataris on reciprocity basis.
The Law provides that if a registration application of an industrial design is filed in a WTO member state or which deals with Qataris on reciprocity basis, the applicant may apply to the competent Qatari office within six months from the date of filing its application abroad to register its design of template in Qatar in light of the procedures provided under the executive regulations of the Law. In this regard, the priority will be determined based on the filing date in the foreign state.
The Law excludes certain templates and patterns from the scope of legal protection granted by the Law. These templates are as follows:
- 1. Drawing(s) or templates that are usually required by the technical and professional requirements of the product,
- 2. Drawing(s) or template(s) which includes religious symbols, or drawing that include stamps, slogans, marks or states and international organisations’ flags, and/or such drawing(s) which violates the public order, and
- 3. Drawing(s) or template(s) which matches or is identical to a registered or popular trademark.
REVISING THE APPLICATION
Upon filing the registration application, the competent office reviews and scrutinizes the same and may order the applicant to amend the applicant and to fulfil certain requirements which the office deems necessary.
The applicant is required to reflect the office’s amendments within 90 days otherwise the application will be discarded.
In case of rejection, the application may challenge the office’s decision within 30 days from the date on which the office renders its decision.
If the office accepts the application, the office will publish its decision on the expenses of the applicant to make sure that the public is aware of the registration of a new drawing of design and to make sure that it does not breach any other registered design. Upon publishing the drawing or design, any person who sees that the new design breaches his own ideas or products may submit a petition to the office within the period announced by the office.
The registration grants the applicant an exclusive right to prevent any third party to manufacture, sell, import or distribute the products which takes the shape of form of the registered design or template unless the applicant marketed the product in any other country or gave license to a third party to carry out any of the said activities.
The Law a protection term of five years to the registered design or template to start from the date of filing the application. The said term may be renewed for similar two terms only upon the request of the owner.
LICENSE TO USE AND RESTRICTIONS
The law grants the owner a right to license any third party to use his drawing or template provided that the agreed term of license shall not exceed the protection term provided under the Law.
The license agreement shall be in writing and be annotated/referenced for in the official register and be announced in the concerned gazette, otherwise it will not be enforceable.
The licensee shall not assign nor sub-license the contract unless there is an agreement provides otherwise between the licensee and licensor.
The license contract may include any of the following restriction on the usage of design or drawing:
- 1. Identifying the scope, term and place of license, and
- 2. Acting in a way that prejudices the template or drawing.
RIGHT TO COMPENSATION
While the Law protects the rights of licensor, the Law also provides similar protection to the licensee in case the licensor elected to terminate the license agreement before its expiry date. The Law give the licensee the right to seek compensation in case the licensor terminated the license agreement before its agreed expiration term provided that the licensee proves the fault and damage of the licensor.
The Law provides for a penalty of imprisonment which does not exceed 3 years and/or a capped fine of one million Qatari riyals for whoever:
- 1. Counterfeits or mocks a registered drawing or industrial template,
- 2. Uses, in bad faith, a mocked or counterfeited drawing or industrial template,
- 3. Put, with bad intention, a drawing or template owned by another person on a good.
The law also provides for a punishment of imprisonment that does not exceed one year and a fine which does not exceed one hundred thousand Qatari Riyals, or either punishment for whoever:
- 1. Sells, exhibits, trades or seized products that contain a counterfeited or mocked drawing or industrial template while he has knowledge of the same.
- 2. Writes on his products or papers, unrightfully, what makes people believes that he registered a drawing or industrial template.
- 3. Neglected with bad intent to put the registered drawing or industrial template on the products that are distinguished by such drawing or template.
- 4. Seized tools or materials to be used in mocking or counterfeiting a registered drawing or industrial template.
In all cases, the court may order the confiscation of tools or materials as well as the mocked or counterfeited products or may order the damage of the same.
The Law also grants the owner to seek civil compensation in case of any breach to his legal rights granted by the law provided that the owner/licensor proves the fault and damage.
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