1999 Public Statement

Excerpts from 1999 Trademark Act
The 20-article Trademark Act promulgated on November 15, 1999 by the Council of Ministers includes the following:

"Each merchant is required to register his unique commercial name, or trademark, in the commercial record. This name is either his own name as registered in the civil record, or a devised name, or a combination of the two. It is permissible for the name to include remarks symbolizing the type of business undertaken, and in all cases it should be socially acceptable, not confusing, not in contradiction to Islamic Shariah, and not harmful to the public interest. A company's name shall be considered to be its trademark name, and may include an innovative name or remarks symbolizing the type of business it carries out. The trademark name shall be composed of Arabic phrases or Arabized phrases, and shall not include foreign words; exceptions to this are the names of foreign companies registered overseas, companies that have internationally known names, and companies that have corporate joint capital and whose renewal is usually determined by a decision from the Minister of Commerce."

"If two entities apply for registration of the same name, priority will be given to the one applying first, in terms of public usage. Following registration, the trademark name will be announced by the authority concerned. No other merchant shall be allowed to use a trademark name already registered in the Kingdom in the same type of business. If his trademark name is similar to another name already registered in the commercial record, the merchant shall add to the name something that will distinguish it from the other. Each merchant, whether an individual or a company, shall display his trademark name plainly outside the shop or office as well as in all publications. In the event that the name of an individual merchant differs from the name as registered in the civil record, he shall use the name that is registered in the civil record in full in all his publications and in signing all his commercial dealings."
"It is not permissible to sell or abdicate the use of the trademark name independently from the relevant business, whereas selling or abdicating from the business does not necessitate abdicating from using the trademark name unless agreed upon in writing. In this case, the new owner of the business shall add an indication of transfer of ownership. But if the former owner agrees that his trademark name be used by his successor without any addition or amendment, the former will be totally responsible if any new claim arises after the transfer of the name resulting from the new owner being unable to meet his commitments. If a merchant owns a trademark name following the purchase of a business, he takes over from his predecessor all its rights and commitments, but the predecessor remains responsible in collaboration with his successor to honor these commitments. No agreement pertaining to trademark names shall be valid unless registered in the commercial record, notified to others, and recorded in the official gazette and in one other Saudi daily newspaper, with the provision that no one objects to it within 30 days from the date of receiving the notification or its publication in the gazette, whichever is first. No claim against the predecessor from the successor shall be filed after five years have elapsed from the date of transfer of ownership of the business. In the event of transfer of ownership of the business without its commercial name, the former owner shall be responsible for any previous commitment unless there is an agreement to sharing such responsibility."
"Without prejudice to any more stringent regulation in any other Act, anyone who uses a trademark name in contradiction of the rules of this Act shall be punished by a fine not exceeding SR 50,000. Such punishment shall be doubled in the event of repeated violation."
"Personnel of the commercial record office shall be in charge of implementing this Act. A committee shall be set up by the Minister of Commerce to be in charge of interrogations, comprising three members, one of whom shall be a specialist in law and regulations. A representative from the Attorney-General shall advocate for the committee. Whenever a trademark name is deleted from the commercial record, for whatever reason, the protection provided by this Act terminates. Appeals against cancellation or against decisions of the commercial record personnel shall be submitted to the Minister of Commerce. Appeals against decisions of the Minister of Commerce shall be submitted to the Court of Grievance. The Minister of Commerce issues the detailed regulations to implement this Act while the Court of Grievance remains the supreme power to rule in any dispute arising from the application of this Act. This Act shall be published in the official gazette and become valid after 90 days of its publication."