Last week I was honored to welcome delegates from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to the bar association in Kuwait for discussion on intellectual property rights around the world in general and in the GCC more specifically. WIPO is one of 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations. WIPO was created in 1967 to encourage creative activity, to promote protection of intellectual property throughout the world.
We discussed how awareness can change the way people perceive their rights and rights of others, which may prevent them from copying a song, redistributing it, or copying parts of a book that they like, and how the community is more likely not to copy or infringe rights of local startups. I loved that thought – that a community of local businesses can help us understand as a community what IP rights are. So today I want to write for business owners – I have touched on these topics before, but I am passionate about assisting startups in reaching their goals through a legal setup.
Intellectual property rights
Question: I am starting a company – what should I need to know about intellectual property rights?
Fajer: There are three different types of IP rights as follows: Trademarks, copyrights and patents. A trademark is the commercial use of a logo. Trademarking logos in Kuwait is under the ministry of commerce and industry with a dedicated office on the 21st floor of KIPCO tower. The process takes four to six months, as the logos are manually compared to other images and are printed in the national gazette, giving people the opportunity to claim that the logos are infringing on their designs, should they wish to do so. There governmental fees of registering a logo are close to KD 300 and requirements for the submission of the trademark include the size of the photo of the trademark, the slogan accompanying the logo, and so on. Initial registrations can be done at www.moci.gov.kw.
Copyrighting is protection of any artistic or literary works. If you have designs that aren’t your logo, you can copyright them at the Kuwait National Library. The process is extremely simple and takes a maximum of 10 business days.
As for patents, they are unified in the GCC under the patent office in Saudi Arabia. Patents are usually for innovations and not designs or logos used commercially, even though patents can be sold commercially.
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed
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