The Sultanate of Oman, a Middle Eastern country situated in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, has undergone several major changes in its intellectual property law through the decision no. 124/2016 of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
A major reform for trademark holders
This act is mainly designed to regulate the registration of trade names and to extend trademark protection for the benefit of holders of intellectual property rights. Prior to this reform, trade names were not published as trademarks and could not, therefore, be subject to an opposition. The new act now allows all trademark holders to apply for the cancellation of any trade name, if the latter is similar to a national or international trademark already registered and protected in Oman.
Dr. Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, also recalled a fundamental principle in the field of Omani intellectual property law. Indeed, registered trade names must be composed of Arabic words, except if they are names of international companies registered in the Sultanate.
In addition, a trade name with political, religious or military connotations, or containing the word “Oman” will also be refused.
A regional opening
This change is in line with recent legislative developments carried out in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates for instance have adopted, in early 2015, a similar reform to reduce conflicts between trade names and trademarks.