11-01-2012 (Newsletter Issue 16/12)
Official Fees Payable for Each Class
According to Ministerial Resolution no. 06/2012 dated June 21, 2012, the fees for the filing and the renewal of trademark applications will be payable separately for each and every class, and not up to the first 3 classes, as was the practice before.
Source: SMAS IP, Morocco
10-16-2012 (Newsletter Issue 15/12)
Official Fees Increased
In compliance with the recent Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office (OMPIC) Decision, the official fees for filing trademarks and designs have been increased, which became effective on October 1, 2012.
The new official fee for filing a trademark is MAD 1,200 for the first class and MAD 150 for each additional class.
Source: SMAS IP, Morocco; H & H Consulting Law Firm, Morocco and H.R. Law Firm, Morocco
The Moroccan Parliament approved on December 14th, 2005, a new Industrial Property Law published in the Official Gazette No. 5397 on February 20th, 2006. The new Law No. 31-05 amends and supplements Law No 17-97 on the Protection of Industrial Property which took effect on December 18th, 2004. It has deleted the two zones of protection, Casablanca and Tangier, and instituted one zone covering the whole territory of the Kingdom of Morocco. All trademarks registered or filed before December 18th, 2004, in the Casablanca zone extended automatically to the Tangier zone and vice versa.
Morocco is a member of the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration. The owner of a well-known mark within the meaning of the Paris Convention may claim cancellation of the registration of a mark that may be confused with his own mark. Such proceedings shall be prescribed five years after registration date, unless registration was applied for in bad faith.
Nice classification, 10th edition
Registrable as a trademark are all distinctive and graphically representable signs, such as words, names, acronyms, letters, numbers, devices, emblems, holograms, colours, combinations or shades of colours, three-dimensional forms, the three-dimensional form of a good or its packaging and any combination of the mentioned signs. The law also recognizes the registrability of sound and smell marks.
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks, trade names and titles of establishment.
The application is filed at the ʻMoroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Propertyʼ in Casablanca, covering the whole Morocco. Electronic filing is now applicable.
Multiple-class applications are possible.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A non-legalised power of attorney stamped and sealed by the applicant, showing name and quality of the signatory clearly, is sufficient. Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration.
The application process includes only a formal examination, without indication of possible identical or similar trademarks. The Moroccan Trademark office publishes all filed trademarks on a half-month basis to enable holders of protected trademarks to exercise their right of opposition. If no opposition is retained, the trademark is registered. The processing time from first filing to registration is 3 to 5 months if no opposition is filed.
The opposition period is 2 months from publication of the trademark in the Official Gazette. The opposition is done at OMPIC.
Opposition against designation of IR Mark
(The period starts from the national publication date, if not stated differently):
2 months (60 days) starting from the 1st day of the month following the reception of the trademark bulletin by the TMO
A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from the filing date and renewable indefinitely for the same period. The renewed trademark will keep the same number of the original trademark preceded by capital letter R for the first renewal and 2R for the second renewal and so on and so forth.
The grace period for renewals is 6 months from the expiration date of the trademark.
On the basis of a court order, any interested party is entitled to demand the cancellation of a registered trademark, if it has not been used by the right holder whithin 5 years from date of filing, or has not been used later for a continuous period of 5 years.
As of October 1, 2012, the official fee for filing a trademark is MAD 1,200 (approx. EUR 107.00) for the first class and MAD 150 (approx. EUR 13.00) for each additional class.
Trademark Licence Agreement
A licence to use a trademark has to be in writing. Licensing of unregistered marks is not permitted. A trademark may be licensed for some or all of the goods or services in respect of which the trademark is registered. The sale of a registered mark does not automatically terminate the licence, unless this is provided for in the agreement of sale. There are no statutory provisions prescribing the terms of licensing.
There are provisions in law for the recordal of a licensee with the Trademark Office. The recordal of a licence is voluntary, but advisable. However the agreement is not enforceable against third parties unless it is recorded. There is no time frame for a recordal. There is no prescribed form for the validity of a licence agreement, but it should contain information about the duration and the quantum of the licence.
The following document is required for a recordal:
1. A simply signed power of attorney from the licensor or the licensee
The licence becomes effective and enforceable against third parties from the date of signature of the licence agreement, provided that the agreement is recorded at the Moroccan Industrial and Commercial Property Office. The licence is not required to be published.
There is an evidentiary presumption that use of a trademark by a recorded licensee is permitted use. The licensee may join the proprietor in infringement proceedings. A registered user may call upon the trademark owner to institute infringement proceedings if authorised to do so in terms of the licence agreement. The registered user may institute proceedings in his own name, if the owner refuses or neglects to do so. There is no prescribed period of time within which the licensor must institute proceedings before the licensee is entitled to do so. It is not required that the user cites the proprietor as co-defendant in any such proceedings, unless otherwise provided for in the contract.
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We would like to thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided:
Atlas Intellectual Property, Casablanca, Morocco
Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property Morocco, Casablanca, Morocco