Effective Trademark Strategies for Brands across GCC Countries
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are a fertile market for foreign investors seeking to boost their business expansion plans. Proactive policies adopted by GCC countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar have made the region an investment magnet for brands from across the world. The rapid growth, diversification of industries, and the presence of consumers with high disposable incomes make it critical for brand owners to conduct trademark registration in GCC countries.
If you are looking to grow your business in any of the GCC countries, you should have a brand protection strategy in place. This will prevent competitors from exploiting your brand reputation and intellectual property (IP) when you start growing. In this article, we look at the critical factors that influence your trademark strategy to protect your brand across the GCC countries. Read on.
File Country-Specific Applications
Filing a trademark registration in GCC countries can be complex when you seek brand protection in multiple jurisdictions. Requirements for trademark registration in the UAE differ from those in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Oman. Filing the trademarks directly to each national trademark office requires you to adapt to the local processes and requirements.
The examination process of each country may differ from one another, which calls for specialist advice and assistance to register trademarks in GCC countries. To be on the top of your brand game, you need to develop a trademark strategy in line with standard procedures in each GCC country. Hire the best trademark agents in Dubai or other GCC countries to easily navigate the trademark laws of each jurisdiction.
Challenges of the Madrid Protocol
While creating GCC trademark registration strategy, every foreign brand owner would ponder about a single filing system which is easier than directly filing an application in each jurisdiction. Madrid Protocol is a common and cost-effective trademark registration system that allows trademark registration in multiple countries through a single application. Brand owners who have an existing trademark in one country can perform international trademark registration through the Madrid Protocol system.
However, the brand owners need to check which GCC countries are signatories to the Madrid Protocol. As of now, Bahrain and Oman are the only countries that allow international trademark registration in GCC through the Madrid system. Bahrain and Oman can be on your radar if you intend to conduct trademark registration in GCC through the Madrid Protocol system.
Standard Trademark Procedures
While filing for trademark registration in GCC countries, you should be vigilant about the standard procedures of each jurisdiction. Even though there may be differences, most of the standard procedures of trademark registration in GCC remain uniform. The following rules of thumb can be followed for successfully registering your trademarks in the GCC region:
- Trademarks should be distinctive; avoid generic or descriptive marks
- Trademarks should not contain words or images that are against public order
- File trademarks under appropriate trademark classes
- Seek assistance before registering under Class 35 as alcoholic products are banned across GCC countries
- Trademarks shouldn’t contain purely religious, or geographical names
- Avail a trademark search service to avoid trademark opposition and rejection of the application
Efficacy of Anti-counterfeiting Measures
Countries in the GCC region such as the UAE are international transit hubs, which raises red alert for trademark infringement in the form of counterfeiting. With the help of trademark agents in Dubai, you can get to know the anti-counterfeiting measures implemented by the GCC member countries. Many of the GCC countries have rolled out strong border protection measures to stop counterfeiting of goods.
Customs officials of the respective GCC countries can check the registered trademarks while inspecting the shipments to prevent the inflow of fake goods. However, the international brand owners need to first register their trademarks in the respective trademark offices to secure protection from customs authorities. Dubai Customs has one of the most robust customs protection systems for preventing trademark infringement in the form of counterfeit goods. Consult with the best trademark agents in Dubai to record your trademarks with Customs
Trademark Costs in GCC Countries
Cost considerations form the most vital part of your strategy for trademark registration in GCC countries. The cost of trademarks vary in each country, and expert assistance of trademark agents in Dubai can be availed to get the cost structure of various jurisdictions. Generally, the costs are incurred for the following trademark services,
- Trademark Search
- Application filing
- Publication on Official Gazette
- Trademark registration fee
- Trademark Renewal charges
Traditionally, Oman has been considered as the cheapest GCC country for registering a trademark, while the UAE was the most expensive. However, the UAE has considerably reduced the costs of various trademark services in 2020, which has proven to be a blessing for brand owners during the uncertain times of COVID-19.
Consult with Jitendra Intellectual Property for Expert Assistance
Foreign companies seeking to expand their business into the GCC countries must register their trademarks with the relevant authorities to enhance brand protection. Since only two countries are signatories to the Madrid Protocol, trademark registration in GCC countries becomes complex. Filing trademark applications directly to national trademark offices of each country is a laborious task. However, availing expert assistance of registered trademark agents in Dubai, such as Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) removes the hassle.
JIP advises the brand owners on application filing, filing of trademarks under relevant Classes, avoiding trademark infringement etc. We provide trademark search services in GCC countries to help prevent opposition claim from third parties. Propel your brand to international fame and success with JIP’s seamless trademark registration services in GCC countries.