19 November 2015

Kuwait to increase trademark fees significantly

It has been reported through various sources that in December 2015, the fees for trademarks in Kuwait will increase significantly.

I understand this will include filing, publication and registration fees. Furthermore, I believe that applications already on file will be subject to the new publication and registration fees (if they're not becoming due imminently). This is not something that would have been anticipated when originally filing applications and applicants are going to need to budget for some substantial additional fees.

Can anything be done to alleviate these fee increases? Yes, applications can be filed now and will be subject to the existing application fees. A legalised Power of Attorney is required for Kuwaiti applications but this can be late filed so it seems advisable not to delay if you want to take advantage of the current application fees.

However, examination does not happen that quickly in Kuwait so you are going to need to budget for the increased publication and registration fees.

Looking ahead

Kuwait is a member of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, usually known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The other members are Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

As the states look to implement a unifying trademark law (not a unitary law) this fee increase may be a reflection of this. The official fees of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are some of the most expensive in the world. Kuwait's fee increase could be seen as a way of them putting their fee structure in line with the two members that receive the most trademark applications.

Therefore, could we see fee increases in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar too? I feel it is fair to anticipate doing so. It could be sensible to consider filing in these countries sooner rather than later if they're likely to be of commercial interest in the future. Bahrain and Oman are members of the Madrid Protocol and can be designated in International applications. If there are fee increases locally, expect them also to elect to increase the Individual fees payable to them under the Madrid Protocol.

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