When will the GCC Trade Mark Law be implemented in member states? Is further legislation required prior to implementation? Are member states planning local modifications to the Law?
Following the publication of the Trade Mark Law of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States in 2013 (the GCC Trade Mark Law), attention has turned to the implementation of this Law, in particular when it will come into force.
This article examines this question, within the framework of the GCC legislative system. In particular, we consider when the GCC Trade Mark Law may come into force in each of the GCC states, and the extent to which it will still be necessary to look at national legislation in order to confirm the position in each GCC state.
A short history of the GCC Trade Mark Law
The harmonisation of intellectual property and other laws has been a long-standing project for the six GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with a GCC Patent Law being in place since 1992 and a GCC Customs Law being in place since 2003.
In the context of trade marks, the concept of a harmonised trade mark law which applies across the GCC states dates back to the 1980s. In more recent times, a draft unified GCC Trade Mark Law was published in 2006 in the GCC Official Gazette, although this did not proceed to implementation. Then, in 2013, a further revised version of a draft GCC Trade Mark Law was published which has led to further work being undertaken with a view to bringing the Law into force.
Legislation in the GCC States
The implementation of legislation on a regional basis requires an agreed structure between the relevant sovereign states to bring the legislation into force in each jurisdiction.
In the European Union (EU), this result is achieved either through a Regulation (which is self-executing and implemented automatically in each EU member state) or through a Directive (which directs the EU member states to implement the terms of the Directive into national law).
The implementation of legislation on a GCC-wide basis is similar to the EU concept of Directives. In the case of the GCC Trade Mark Law, the Supreme Council of the GCC (the highest decision-making body of the GCC) issued a Resolution during the 33rd GCC Session held in December 2012 requiring member states to implement the GCC Trade Mark Law into their respective national laws "within a period of sixth months as from the date on which the Commercial...