Recent Reforms Enhance the Regime of Trademark Registration in Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), one of the most economically powerful countries in the Middle East, has a strong Intellectual Property regime. The laws and rules related to trademark registration in Saudi Arabia promise enhanced IP protection for brand owners expanding into the Kingdom. Apart from being robust, the IP regime in the Kingdom is highly dynamic as evidenced by the recent progressive changes concerning the registration of trademarks.

One of the most prominent changes has been the ability to register surnames as trademarks followed by the introduction of sound trademarks. The Kingdom has also implemented changes in the Nice Classification as well. Brand owners need to take into account the new changes before applying for trademark registration in KSA. This can be navigated with the assistance of the best trademark agents in Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, the following is a list of the new changes introduced by Saudi Arabia that will enhance its IP regime.

Saudi Arabia Adopts New Edition of Nice Classification  

The SAIP (Saudi Arabia Intellectual Property) is updating the online system for trademark registration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with implementing a number of changes connected to the IP services, especially the trademarks. In tandem with these changes, the SAIP has adopted the 11th Edition of the Nice Classification. Brand owners need to follow the 11th edition of Nice Classification to file new trademark applications in Saudi Arabia.

The SAIP has been following the 10th edition of Nice. A classification that didn’t cover the latest updates and additions to the goods and services. For new filings, the applicants should check the alphabetical list to identify or select the exact classification of each individual product or service in line with their goods and services. The SAIP strictly follows the list and refuses to accept any additional goods/services not identified in either the class heading or the alphabetical list. Also, the SAIP has not included certain terms online even though they are included in the recent edition. For instance,  classes related to alcoholic beverages for example will not be accepted to be chosen from the list and filed.

Introduction of Sound Trademarks 

In the latter half of 2020, a sound trademark has been successfully registered in Saudi Arabia for the first time. The SAIP granted the trademark certificate to the Saudi Telecom Company (STC). A solid IP right granted over sounds is a watershed moment in the evolution of the country’s IP laws. It allows the brand owners to utilise their trademarks more efficiently.

The registration of sound trademarks became possible after Saudi adopted the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Trademark Law of September 2016. As per this law, trademarks registered in Saudi Arabia may also be in the form of words, symbols, numbers, letters, pictures, drawings and shapes and other representations, so long as the mark is distinguishable from others in the same class of goods or services.

To file a trademark application for a sound trademark, applicants must file a graphical representation of the sound mark by way of musical notes forming a melody and a sample of the sound mark in an MP3 format. Trademark agents in Saudi Arabia expect an influx of further sound mark filings in the Kingdom.

Opportunity to Register Family Names as Trademarks 

Recently the SAIP has started accepting the family names as trademarks subject to certain conditions. The SAIP says

Family name must be the main component of the trademark and not the brand itself

It should comply with existing laws of trademark registration in Saudi Arabia, which is applicable to all kinds of trademarks

Family should be in commercial use for at least 10 years

It must be distinctive and must also be registered under relevant goods & services as per Nice Classification

Registration of the family names of tribes and clans is not allowed

How Can Jitendra Intellectual Property Help You? 

Brand owners need to consider the new changes before applying for trademark registration in Saudi Arabia, especially the new version of Nice Classification. With the adoption of the GCC Trademark Law, registering a sound trademark in KSA has also become a reality. However, conducting the trademark registration in Saudi Arabia without complying with the law can lead to delays and even rejection. This is where the professional guidance of trademark agents in Saudi Arabia such as Jitendra Intellectual Property comes in handy for the brand owners.

Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP) is a full-service intellectual property service firm with years of experience in providing trademark registration services to thousands of clients in the GCC countries. JIP has a team of highly qualified trademark agents who ensure that the trademarks remain protected in Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.

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