Frequently asked questions about trademark registration

The registration of a trademark provides protection to the owner thereof and guarantees an exclusive right to either use it or to authorize third parties to use it in return for a given amount of money.
More broadly, the trademarks help promote entrepreneurship globally by rewarding the owners thereof in terms of recognition and financial benefits.
The trademark protection also acts as a barrier against unfair competition efforts, such as counterfeiting through the use of the same distinctive signals to market different or low-quality goods or services.
The system enables skilled persons and entrepreneurial to produce and market goods and services under fair conditions, and hence facilities the international trade.

Trademarks according to Law 82 of 2002

 The trademark is all that distinguishes a product or service from others.
It  includes in particular distinctive names, signatures, words, letters, numbers, drawings, symbols, shop addresses, stamps, seals, photos, reliefs, and a variety of colors that take a special and distinctive form, as well as any mixture of these elements if they are to be used or intended to be used to distinguish industrial products, agricultural use, exploitation of forest soil outputs, or any goods, or to indicate the origin, type, rank, guarantee, method of preparation of the products or goods, or to render a given service.
In all cases, the trademark should be visually recognized.
1 - The name, address, nationality, and occupation of the applicant. If the applicant is a company, then its name, address, nationality, and purpose thereof should all be indicated.
2 - The trademark to be registered as used in the markets.
3 - A detailed statement of the goods or services to be labeled with the trademark.
4 - An official power of attorney documented by the applicant for representation before the authorities competent with the registration of the trademarks.
The Egyptian law gives the right to the natural and legal persons to apply for registration of a trademark.
In the case where natural persons are applying for the registration, a photocopy of the ID or the passport should be presented along with the application for registration .
The expected period of completing the registration procedures within the Arab Republic of Egypt is between 12 and 16 months if the application is accepted at the first stage . 
The protection period arising from the registration of a trademark is ten years and may be extended for a similar period(s) upon request made by the owner during the last year of the protection period against payment of the prescribed fees.

Its legally assumed that trade mark registration is accepted immediately except in the following conditions :-

1- Marks devoid of any distinctive feature or consisting of signs or data which do not fall beyond the designation that is traditionally given to the products, drawing, or the ordinary images thereof.
2- Trademarks that are identical and similar to trademarks previously registered for the same products or services.
3- Marks that violate public order or morals.
4- Public emblems, media, and other symbols of the State or the other states or the regional or international organizations, as well as any imitation thereof.
5- Marks that are identical or similar to symbols of a religious character or particularity.
6- The symbols of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent or other similar symbols, as well as the signs which represent imitations thereof.
7- Images of others or their logo unless they authorize the use thereof.
8- Data on honors degrees unless the applicant has proved to have obtained them.
9- Marks and geographical indications that may mislead or confuse the public, or contain false data on the origin of products or services or other characteristics, as well as marks containing a false, imitated, of a forged trade name.
If the application for registering a trademark is filed in one of the WTO entities or member states, or in an entity or a state which deals with the Arab Republic of Egypt on a reciprocity basis, the applicant or the person to whom the rights have been reverted may, within the six months following the filing of the application, submit to the competent authority in the Arab Republic of Egypt a similar application for the same products covered by the previous application.
This should be done in accordance with the terms and conditions stipulated in the law and the implementing regulations thereof. In this case, reference shall be made to the date of filing the first application in the foreign state when deciding the priority issue .
The applicant may file a complaint against the decision of the competent authority to reject the application for registering the trademark within thirty days from the date of its notification thereof.
The complaints shall be considered by one or more committees formed by a decision of the competent minister.
The committee shall be formed of three members, one of whom shall be a member of the Council of State, and shall examine the complaints, hear the rebuttals of the complainant, review the complaint with the supporting documents thereof, and shall then decide whether or not the complaint should be accepted .
The decision of the grievance committee may be appealed before the Administrative Court (the State Council) according to the procedures and the times stipulated by the law of the State Council (60 days from the date of receipt of the decision).
The appellant should, however, present a proof that the rejection decision issued by the governmental department is faulty.
In this case, there will be a judicial ruling issued in favor of the appellant mandating the governmental department to reverse the decision which rejected the registration, and the appellant may thus proceed with the registration process and undertakes the relevant procedures .
The trademark may not be registered in accordance with the law until after its acceptance in the Trademark Official Gazette (an official Gazette issued by the Internal Trade Development Authority and published on the Authority's website periodically every 7 days from the beginning of each calendar month for a period of 60 days in order to inform all about the acceptance of registering the trademark and hence allow every interested party to file an official opposition during the legally prescribed period (60 days) after which time the registration fees will be paid and the trademark will become registered and subject to criminal protection) .
The Egyptian law # 82 of 2002 regulating the procedures for registering trademarks provides for the following procedures for opposing the registration:
Any interested party may oppose in writing the registration of the trademark by means of a notification extended to the Authority, giving therein the reasons for opposition, within sixty days from the date of publication, subject to the conditions prescribed by the implementing regulations of this law.
The Authority shall then send a copy of the notification of the opposition to the applicant within thirty days from the date of its receipt of notification.
The applicant for registration of the trademark shall provide the Authority with a written justified reason for the opposition within thirty days from the date of delivery of the notification, otherwise, he shall be deemed to have abandoned the registration application.
The implementing regulation of this Law shall determine the rules and procedures governing this matter, provided that the governmental department examines the opposition statement submitted by the protester and also the response note submitted by the applicant (the defendant).
The Department shall then issue its decision regarding the opposition, whether by accepting it and thus rejecting the registration of the trademark, or rejecting it and proceeding with registration under the condition where the trademark was accepted.
The Department may else obligate the applicant to make any amendment(s) to the objectionable trademark in the manner perceived by the Opposition Office of the Government Department to ensure that consumers are not misled or confused when registering the objectionable trademark.
The decision issued by the Opposition Committee may be appealed before the Administrative Judicial Court (the State Council) in accordance with the procedures and the times stipulated by the Law of the State Council in order to oblige the Governmental Office to reverse its decision regarding the opposition.
If the appellant proves his right to appeal through the official documents and the statements supporting the validity of his appeal, the Court will then use its authority to oblige the Governmental Office to amend its decision based on the perception of the Court.
In accordance with the article (81) of Law # 82 of 2002, the Department shall issue its justified decision of accepting or rejecting the registration, after hearing the parties to the dispute.
In its acceptance decision, the Department may include a statement mandating the applicant to abide by whatever conditions it deems necessary for the registration of the trademark.
The owner of the registered trademark may request the Authority in writing to make any amendment to the trademark, provided that it does not substantially affect the identity of the mark.
He may also request making any amendment by deletion (not addition) of the products labeled by the trademark.
The decision to accept or reject the amendment shall be issued in accordance with the conditions prescribed for the decisions to accept the original registration applications.
The ownership of a trademark may be transferred in accordance with the procedures established by the Government Office, with the transfer process to be performed by means of an authenticated document .
The competent court may, at the request of any concerned party, order the cancellation of the registration of a trademark by an enforceable judicial ruling if it has been proved that the trademark has not been actually used over a period of five consecutive years or the registration was done in bad faith.
The owner of the trademark may license one or more natural or legal person(s) to use the trademark on all or some of the products for which the mark is registered.  
This license shall not prevent the owner of the trademark from using it unless otherwise agreed upon.  
The owner of the trademark may not terminate the license agreement or refrain from renewing it without a legitimate reason.

Article (113) of Law # 82 of 2002 stipulates that:

Without prejudice to any more severe penalty stipulated in any other law, there shall be imprisonment for a period of not less than two months and a fine of not less than five thousand pounds and not exceeding twenty thousand pounds or one of these two penalties applied in the following cases:
First: Any person who has falsified a trademark registered in accordance with the law or has imitated it in a manner that misleads the public.
Second: Any person who has, in a bad faith, misused a counterfeit or imitated a trademark.
Third: Any person who has, in a bad faith, labeled his products with a trademark owned by others.
Fourth: Any person who has knowingly sold, offered to sell, traded, or acquired products labeled with a counterfeit, imitated, or unlawfully placed trademark.
In the case of reoccurrence, there shall be imprisonment for a period not less than two months and a fine not less than ten thousand pounds and not exceeding fifty thousand pounds.
In all cases, the court shall order the confiscation of the products subject of the crime or the money or things derived therefrom, as well as the tools used in committing such a crime.
Upon conviction, the court may order the closure of the establishment used by the convicted person to commit the crime for a period not exceeding six months, with the closure to be mandatory in the case of reoccurrence of the event.
Yes, it is possible to register a personal name as a trademark, provided that the Trademark Office considers it a "distinctive" name.
Whether a name is distinct depends on a variety of different factors.
In general, the more general is the name, the less likely it is to be considered distinct because it may be a personal name for a number of other persons.
Conversely, the more peculiar is the name, the better the chance to have it registered as a trademark.
The trademark should generally be used immediately upon registration, or it may else be canceled at the request of anyone who can prove that the trademark has not been in use.
In Egypt, the trademark shall not be canceled in that case unless it is proved that at least five years have lapsed without having it used.
The IP law shall apply primarily in the territory where it has been enacted.
This means that the right to a trademark is limited to the country in which the application for protection has been filed and the applicant has received that protection.
In the case of exporting goods labeled with a protected trademark only in the country of the trademark owner, then the mark would be vulnerable to export market risks.
It would, therefore, be preferable for the exporter to register his trademark in the countries to which he intends to export his products so that his mark would also be protected in those countries.
To find out how to protect trademarks abroad, please contact us immediately.
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