The twenty-first century is witnessing a global revolution in the innovation and development of mechanisms that provide goods and services to consumers, and different business owners compete to provide the best products and follow the best marketing strategies. An integral part of marketing is branding, which is witnessing an unprecedented awareness movement to protect merchants, companies, their brands, and intellectual rights in general.
In this article, we will discuss the most pivotal rights and obligations of trademark owners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in addition to the penalties provided for violating the trademark law.
First, trademark owners should be aware of a few focal points to avoid the cancelation of their trademark registration. These points include the non-use of the trademark for five consecutive years without any legitimate excuse, as well as the use of brands that violate public morals.
Moreover, brands that are registered based on fraudulent, incorrect, or false data will also be canceled, and of course, if they have not been renewed during the last validity year.
The good news is that the Trademark Law provides several guarantees to applicants when submitting applications, whereby the person who applies for the registration of a trademark has the right for the competent authority to decide on his application within 90 days starting from the date of its submission.
He also has the right to appeal to the Grievance Committee if the registration of his trademark was refused or limited to a condition but this must be within 60 days from the date of his notification of the rejection.
Furthermore, if the registration of a used trademark was announced by another individual or entity, the individual or entity that has used it before is entitled to file a written objection, whereby they can request the cancellation of such registration within five years from the date of registration by the latter beneficiary.
The owner of the brand may also license any person or legal entity to use it for all or some of the registered goods or services, provided that the license is in writing and that the term of the license does not exceed the original protection period specified for the brand owner.
The owner of the brand also has the right to submit to the competent department a request to transfer his brand ownership, with or without compensation, through inheritance, will, donation, mortgage, or seizure.
As for the penalties for violating the Trademark Law, in the event of misleading the public, cheating by any means, or placing a brand owned by a third party on one’s own products or using it in connection with his services with bad intent, the violator shall be punished with imprisonment for no less than one month and not more than three years, and a fine of no less than 5,000 Saudi riyals ($1333) and not more than one million Saudi riyals, or one of the aforementioned penalties.
There is also a penalty for any person who knowingly sells or offers for sale goods bearing a forged trademark. The penalty is imprisonment for no less than a month and no more than a year and a fine of no less than one thousand riyals and not more than one million riyals, or one of the aforementioned penalties.