On 14 January 2019 there entered into force in Qatar the law No. 7/2019 instituting the obligation of using Arabic for all Qatari government and public bodies and in official documents.
These provisions may affect you in that they also concern all businesses.
As a matter of fact, this law provides that trademarks and tradenames must be given in Arabic both in advertising and in communication media. As an exception, a trademark in a foreign language may be used provided the Arabic version is displayed more visibly.
You have until 14 July 2019 to conform with these provisions.
What incidence on the use of your trademarks and tradenames ?
Affected are the trademarks and tradenames appearing on emblems, advertising and promotional media, all exterior and interior signs, and more generally in all commercial and promotional documents (brochures and other communication media).
In this media, any use of a trademark or a tradename in a foreign language (in latin characters, for example) must imperatively be associated with its Arabic version. The Arabic version must appear in larger characters, and be displayed more visibly.
For example :
If the two versions (foreign language and Arabic language) have the same size, the representation will not be held to comply with the law.
Similarly, a representation in which only the foreign language version of the trademark appears will not be held to comply.
What is the incidence on the registration of your trademarks ?
This new law does not concerns the registration of the trademarks but only the way in which they are to be employed.
In Qatar the use of a trademark in a form other than that registered has no impact on the validity of your trademark rights.
Thus, it is not necessary to re-file a trademark in order to include or give precedence to the Arabic version of the sign, filed initially in a foreign language.
However, if you do not have a trademark for that sign in its Arabic version (but only in a foreign language), it is advisable to file a new application for the sign in Arabic. in order to protect its use by third parties in that form.
What are the sanctions?
In case of a breach, the maximum fine is 50,000 Riyal Qatarien (i.e. 13750 USD or 12250 Euros).
Furthermore, any material not conforming to the criteria will be liable to be removal on request of the authorities.
Our firm is at your disposal to reply to your questions and advise you as to meeting the requirements of this new law by your company.