Eye on the Middle East and North Africa: INTA’s 2022 Policy Priorities and Key Activities

Published: February 2, 2022

In line with INTA’s key policy issues, in 2022 the Association will continue working toward the harmonization of trademark laws and practices in critical jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa. As part of this approach, and upon request from policymakers, INTA stands ready to share tailored recommendations and tools aimed at building an innovative intellectual property (IP) ecosystem and a region of vibrant entrepreneurship.

In the year ahead, the Association will advocate for the following:

Improved procedures: A significant number of trademark offices will look to enhance trademark filing, examination, and registration procedures. Currently, there are jurisdictions in the region with lengthy registration procedures and others that do not yet issue certificates.

Online availability of trademark records: Some trademark offices share their trademark database with public and/or international organizations, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization, whereas many offices still do not take this approach. INTA will proactively engage and encourage local offices to follow international best practices and allow the accessibility of the database, at least for published and registered marks.

Accession to the Madrid System: INTA strongly supports accession to the Protocol Relating the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, which, among other things, streamlines the procedures for the international registration of marks by alleviating the consequences of “central attack” (i.e., the loss of an International Registration due to the total or partial ceasing of effect of the basic mark in the country of origin).

Opposition proceedings: INTA believes that oppositions should not be decided by the individual(s) who examined and/or approved the application for registration. The concern is that such individuals might be biased by their own decision to permit registration or by information obtained or actions taken during the examination process that would not otherwise be considered in the opposition proceedings.

Proceeds of counterfeiting: Strong anticounterfeiting enforcement mechanisms that protect consumers from being misled or deceived by counterfeit products are in the best interest of consumer health and safety. The Association advocates that it is crucial to hold assets and proceeds of counterfeiting in order to deter counterfeiters.

Building on past successful efforts, INTA will collaborate with local stakeholders in providing training to judges, customs officials, and examiners. In addition, the Association will promote the establishment of IP/trademark caucuses with the help of lawmakers and other interested parties.

INTA Representative Tat-Tienne Louembe supports the Association’s members across Africa and the Middle East. In collaboration with the staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City and Representative Offices around the world, Mr. Louembe works on the Association’s policy, membership, marketing, and communications initiatives in these regions. To learn more about INTA’s activities in Africa and the Middle East, please contact INTA Representative Tat-Tienne Louembe.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2022 International Trademark Association