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by Bassam Al Azzeh - 

On 6 April 2013 (26/5/1434 H) the Saudi Arabian trademarks office issued a circular stating that it will no longer receive trademark applications in hard copy as it would only receive new applications electronically.

It is to be noted that despite the fact the new trademark applications must be filed electronically, the Saudi Arabian trademarks office still requires trademark applicants to submit hard copies of the priority documents - duly attested – if priority is claimed.

The Saudi Arabian trademarks office also now requires all legal representatives / agents to submit a list containing the brand owners they represent, along with fresh powers of attorney or an existing valid power of attorney. The Saudi Arabian trademarks office will use these powers of attorney to record the legal representatives / agents against each trademark and will then return the original documents to the concerned legal representative / agent.

As of 1 June 2013 the trademarks office will permit only one legal representative / agent to be recorded per brand owner.  No third party will be allowed to file a trademark application on behalf of a brand owner unless that person is registered with Ministry of Commerce & Industry as the agent representing the relevant brand owner.

The circular of 6 April 2013 came in response to the Ministerial Decree No. 1147 of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce & Industry issued on 15 October 2012 (30/11/1433 H.) that provided that the publication of trademarks shall be made through the website of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

The Ministerial Decree included amendments to the articles of the Saudi Arabian regulations for the Trademark Law No. M/21 for 2002, namely 10-11, 13, 17, 20, 23-24, 27, 29 and 32 which required publication of certain actions in respect of a trademark, including in respect of:

- Acceptance;

- Renewal;

- Change of ownership (Assignment);

- Amendments to goods/services;

- Amendments of a trademark;

- Cancelation of a trademark; and

- Licensing of a trademark.

During January 2013, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce & Industry officially launched the new webpage and commenced the implementation of the Ministerial Decree. At this time, the new webpage is fully operational and any party with access to the internet can review published trademarks.

Another notable development at the Saudi Arabian trademarks office is that it is now capable of examining new trademark applications.

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