The Sultanate of Oman is known as the gateway to the Gulf. Oman is one of the emerging business destinations for industrialists and investors. It strives to protect the business owners’ rights in the best way to protect them from any infringement. This act of high transparency and strict laws for protecting businesses attracts investors towards Oman to set up their businesses and branches of companies in Oman. Trademark protection is one of the core priorities in the list of safeguarding the rights of investors. Different brands have their unique identity having distinct signs, marks, names, designs, signatures, etc. It is essential to be protected through registration in the territory where it operates a trade or provides any services under that specific mark, title, drawing, name, color pattern, or logo, commonly known as a trademark.
To protect trademarks and trademark owners from infringement of their right to use that specific mark and carry out business under that mark, Oman has introduced trademark registration law under Industrial Property Rights Law promulgated through Royal Decree Number. 67/2008, the Intellectual Property Law (IP Law). The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) governs matters of industrial and IP through enacted laws. To claim the protection of Oman’s law, the trademark owner should register his/her trademark with the Intellectual Property Department (IP Department) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The trademark should comply with moral standards and the public order of the country. The owner of the trademark is liable to prove his bona fide intention behind the trademark registration. This article discusses the procedure of registration of a trademark in the Sultanate of Oman and the laws governing trademark registration.
In Oman, the trademark owner can register a trademark in two ways through the National Trademark Registration or the Madrid Protocol (World Wide Trademark Registration). If any trademark owner intends to register a trademark only in Oman, he can register through National Trademark Registration whereas, if the trademark is used to provide services in countries other than Oman, then the trademark could be registered under the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application mentioning the name of that country. Oman is also a signatory to the Nice Agreement and the Paris Convention goods. The services need to be classified following the Nice International Classification System; the 11th edition of such is currently in use in Oman. For each class of goods or services, a separate application must be filed.
To initiate the process of registration, the trademark owner shall file an application for registration to the Registrar of Intellectual Property Department (IP Dept.) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The registration application should include a description of the mark, services, and goods intended to provide under that mark’s label. The trademark should be unique in shape, color, and design. It should be according to the country’s moral values and should be different from other existing trademarks in the market. It shall be in accordance with the policies of the country. The application fee for the registration of a trademark is 50 OMR (Omani Rial). Once an application is submitted, the Registrar of the IP department examines the mark on the grounds of distinctiveness and its conformity with the country’s morals. If it meets all the standard requirements, and the IP department feels it fit to be registered, it issues approval for its publication in the Official Gazette and local Daily Newspaper. The application fee for this publication is 140 OMR (Omani Rial). When the trademark is published, it gives the interested parties a chance to file an opposition; if the trademark is infringing their rights or causing harm to his/her trade, can file an opposition within 90 days of the publication of the trademark in the Official Gazette. If no such opposition comes against the trademark or after opposition, the decision is made in favor of the applicant (trademark owner) after going through the whole procedure and examination. The Registrar then publishes a reference to the registration and issues a certificate of registration to the trademark owner after paying 50 OMR (Omani Rial)as a certificate fee. If the application is rejected or returned for amendment, with the help of legal experts the trademark owner can appeal against the order within sixty days. The following documents are required to file for registration of a trademark;
All the documents mentioned above required for registration must be in Arabic because Arabic is Oman’s official language. The protection of copyrights of a trademark under Omani Law is ten years that starts from the submission of the registration application. The trademark owner is responsible for renewing the already registered trademark’s registration within six months of its expiration for the next ten years. In case the owner fails to renew the registration within the stipulated period, the registrar’s office can cancel the registration of the trademark and strike off the trademark from the list. This is the simple and convenient procedure set forth by the Sultanate of Oman for the protection of the rights of trademark owners by registering their trademark with the government. By registering a trademark, an owner can avoid infringement and misuse of the trademark. If any infringement takes place, he/she can claim right over that trademark without any hurdle.