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Kuwait Joins Paris and Berne Conventions and Convention

Guiding Principle

The Government of Kuwait deposited on September 2, 2014 its instrument of accession to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. On that date, Kuwait will become a member of the International Union for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Union), and the International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (“Berne Union”).

A. The effects of accession to the Paris Convention

The approving of Kuwait to Join the Paris Convention should have the following effect on the registration of trademarks, patents and designs as follows:

I. Trademarks

On this time, the trademark applicants will be able to claim priority (within the six-month priority period) from corresponding applications filed in any of the other 175 member states of the Paris Convention under Article 4 of the convention. Until now, priority claims have not been available for trademark applications in Kuwait.

To date, no guidance has been issued as to what priority documentation will be required by the Kuwait Trademarks Office. Under the Paris Convention, a certified copy of the priority application can be requested (which should not require authentication) and can be filed within three months of the date of filing the application.

II. Patents and Designs

Article 50 of the Law on Patents, Designs and Industrial Models (4/1962, as amended by Law 3/2001) allows an applicant in Kuwait to claim priority (during a 12-month priority period) from an application filed in a foreign country that accords Kuwait reciprocal treatment.

However, the right to priority under the Law on Patents, Designs and Industrial Models depends on the availability of reciprocal treatment. This is not the case under the Paris Convention, and any of the 175 other members of the Paris Convention should now be able to claim priority in Kuwait without concern that, as a matter of law and practice, their home country offers full reciprocal treatment to Kuwaiti nationals.

B. The effects of accession to the Berne Convention

Through its World Trade Organization membership, Kuwait became bound to implement Articles 1 to 21 of the Berne Convention. In fact, Kuwait almost entirely incorporated these provisions into national law when it enacted the Copyright Law in 1999.

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has issued reports pushing for Kuwait to accede to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, and to amend its Copyright Law by:

  • Reducing the moral rights protection afforded to authors;
  • Increasing the fines and prison sentences imposed;
  • Implementing protection against the parallel import of copies of works, phonograms and performances;
  • Extending the term of protection from life plus 50 years (as set out in the Berne Convention) to life plus 70 years for works of natural authors, and to 95 years from publication for audiovisual works and sound recordings.
October, 2014 Tarek Jairwdeh
Meyer-Reumann & Partners Dubai Office
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