International Intellectual Property - Saudi Arabia

International Intellectual Property - Saudi Arabia

Published May 2023


Basem AlMaghthawi

Firm: AlMaghthawi & Partners
Country: Saudi Arabia

Practice Area: Intellectual Property

  • Prince Sultan St، As Salamah
    Al Ajlan Center
    Jeddah 23437

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We, during the past few years, have worked mainly on the area of trademarks and tradenames. This was due to the high demand of trademarks’ and tradenames’ protection in the Saudi and international market.

Recently, many cases have been filed against many Saudi writers because of their breach of copyrights. Therefore, the awareness of the importance of copyrights permissions has been increased. One of the remarkable projects that AlMaghthawi & Partners is working on is the project of copyrights clearance of 80 artworks for 80 artists around the world, namely: Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Edgar Degas and Vincent van Gogh, for the purpose of book publication. AP Legal is the legal sponsor of the book. This project exceeded 400 hours of work under the supervision of the head of the Corporate department.

I personally worked on one of the initiative trademarks cases in Saudi. The case was filed to the Board of Grievances by an International Indonesian company (“the company”) against a Saudi establishment and the Saudi Ministry of Commerce. The latter accepted a registration of a famous trademark which is registered in more than 300 countries worldwide and rejected the objection of the company. For the Saudi establishment, which was a commercial agent for the company several years before the case, the main issue was that the owner (agent), during the period of agency, claimed that he tried to register the trademark several times with no luck. After the end of the agency contract, he registered the trademark under his name. The Ministry’s decision has been revoked and the registration cancelled based on the right of priority and bad faith. Paris Convention and the GCC Trademark Law were considered in this case by the Court.

Our main focus was on corporate entities due to the high demand of protection; however, nowadays the concept of start-ups is spreading, and individuals are conducting business more than usual. In addition, people are more aware of IP rules than ever before, especially copyright rules. Therefore, the demand of IP services has increased. AP Legal, during the previous six months, has provided more than 20 IP advices and worked on five IP projects for more than 1100 hours.

Cross-border Cases

A case of copyright breach, for example, is challenging, as to come across the competitor or, more accurately, aggressor, you must conduct an intensive search. If you hopefully find the one, but regrettably from a different jurisdiction, you have to afford the lawyer’s fees. This scenario is irritating many of the IP protection seekers. IP laws are differing from one country to another unless the country complies to a certain IP convention or treaty. One more challenge is to meet courts’ or IP committees’ requirements to prove the breach and to convince them with the claimed similarity. A copyright breach case in Saudi, for instance, could exceed a period of two years.

Internet Breaches

This type of breach is connected to the cross-border challenge. With the increase of e-business and Internet usage, IP breaches and cases are increasing rapidly. However, the challenge is to chase the aggressors around the world and to determine the right jurisdiction to file a case. Choice of law and forum is a nightmare in such cases. AP Legal team has highly educated professionals, familiar of international laws in the IP area specifically. This knowledge supports them to confront those challenges with sufficient professionalism.

We were the recipient of a 2019 International Advisory Award for our litigation work.

Yes, AlMaghthawi & Partners are involved in International Advisory Expert as a Strategic Partner – we get referrals sometimes and expanding connections. Furthermore, we have connections with many Asian IP law firms.

IP is a growing area in Saudi. Therefore, several conferences are held to raise the awareness of the importance of IP. From the legal angle, all connected authorities, such as the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, are boosting their policies for better protection. They also arrange conferences to assure the effectiveness of their policies. One of the important conferences is the Saudi Law Conference, which will take place on November 2019 and will tackle the legal and practical development in the IP area and the expected challenges. I believe this type of conference determines the position of the Kingdom in relation to the international IP community and any required improvements to be undertaken.

This year, King Salman permitted the establishment of the Saudi Authority of Intellectual Property “SAIP”. SAIP aims to organise, support, sponsor, protect and promote IP in the Kingdom in accordance with best global practices. To reach those aims, SAIP is improving intellectual property strategies, regulations and legislation, and contributing to the empowerment and exploitation of IP rights.

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