2 May 2018

North and South Yemen

We all know about North and South Korea. They've not exactly been out of the news recently.

I'm far too young to remember North and South Vietnam, although I (just) have memories of East and West Germany competing at the Olympic Games and of being too young to appreciate the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Germany wasn't the only country to unify in 1990. As a young boy, my first atlas was prior to the unification of Yemen and being a geography geek from a young age I would have spent time memorising for which part Aden was the capital and which part had Sana'a as its capital.

One of my first, but probably not my first atlas (what is the plural for atlas?). It's still an old one.

Prior to 1990, Yemen consisted of independent north and south parts. Officially both countries had relatively similar names - the Yemen Arab Republic versus People's Democratic Republic of Yemen. Both had their own set of trademark laws.

A devastating Civil War, which often does not reach our regular news reports, has been going on since 2015. The internationally recognised government was ousted in the capital Sana'a by Houthi rebels. They now control territory similar to that which constituted North Yemen. Since occupation, I understand the Trademark Office has continued to operate from the capital.

I have now heard information that the Government located in Aden, in what was South Yemen, is now also receiving trademark applications (based on the same laws and regulations), and also receiving confirmations of registrations/renewals issued by the Trademarks Office up in Sana'a.

Yemen's poverty has meant it is not high up on the list of most important jurisdictions to many trademark owners, and the sad Civil War has only lessened its commercial importance. Nonetheless, if Yemen is a country where you do need to protect trademarks, it would be worth investigating whether you need to file in both the North (in Sana'a) and South (in Aden) to best protect your interests.

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