Lebanon Intellectual Property Registration
Lebanon’s first intellectual property rights law dates back to 1924.
A law of 1999 under the number of 75/99 regulates today the intellectual property rights matter.
Lebanon signed several international agreements and treaties concerning intellectual property rights and therefore protects the intellectual property rights to the highest level.
What are the intellectual properties right? And how can they be protected?
A trademark is a denomination, name, label, design and in general any distinctive sign to distinguish a certain product from others such as a commercial, industrial or any kind of products.
Registration of a trademark can be operated by any person or corporate bodies, and there is no difference between national and foreign requester.
Foreigners, however, are required to appoint a local agent to represent them and to proceed with all registration formalities and to receive the registration certificate.
The registration of a trademark is valid for 15 years renewable for an additional period of 15 years.
How can a Trademark be protected?
- The trademark is in principle protected via registration at the Office of Intellectual Property in the ministry of economy. The registration opens the path to initiate criminal action against any person who infringes on a registered trademark.
- The Office of Intellectual Property in the ministry of economy, when registering a trademark checks its contents and makes sure that it is generic and may not lead to confusion with an existing registered trademark.
An opposition may be constituted in a certain delay, and there is a possibility as well to initiate a proceeding before the competent courts on the basis of unfair competition.
Lebanese Customs can be of help as well in trademark protection by examining the origin of the imported products.
Communication between Lebanese customs and the intellectual property office are helpful in detecting any infringement to any registered trademark.
Infringement in trademarks issue is considered by the courts to take place when it leads to a confusion in the spirit of the consumer and thus, he is misled by the infringer trademark.
Trademarks can be nominative or a logo/design and they are registered and protected under diversified categories.
Needless to say that trademarks can be protected in more than one class.
On August 7, 2000, Lebanon’s parliament enacted a law to protect patents.
Based on the law and international conventions an invention can be considered as a patent under these conditions:
- To have a new and not an existing invention
- To be inventive
- To be of use in industry
Who owns the patent?
The inventor is the person owning the rights to the patent. If more than one person participated in one invention, the right to the patent shall be split equally between these persons unless otherwise provided in a separate agreement.
In the event that many persons independently produce the same invention, the right to the patent shall be for the first applicant.
What are the conditions for obtaining a patent?
A request to the ministry of economy and trade should be presented and should include the following:
- Description of the invention provided that the invention is not contrary to public policy or morals.
- The seriousness and novelty in the items for which the protection is requested.
The decision taken by the minister can be appealed to the Court of Appeal of Beirut.
The office of intellectual property has 60 days from the Minister’s decision to issue the patent.
The initial term of a patent is 20 years.
A new and modern Copyright Law was enacted on April 3, 1999, by the Lebanese parliament and entered into force on June 6, 1999.
The copyright protection covers a large scope of works.
Originally covering literary and artistic works, it is now extended to computer software, videos and a large variety of works.
In case of violation of copyrighted works, penalties of criminal aspects and civil compensation to the offended party shows to what extent the copyright is protected by this law.
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