May 31, 2018

Argentina: Moves Towards PCT Accession

While the PCT ratification bill is not likely to be considered soon, Argentina steadily moves towards joining.  This was confirmed during the recent discussions of the PCT as part of negotiations regarding a free trade agreement between the EU and the Mercosur states (Argentina, Brazil, Paraquay and Uruguay). Source:  IP-Coster
May 31, 2018

Mexico: Trademark Law to be Updated Soon

On May 18, 2018 the Mexican government published the Decree on Amendments to the trademark law in the Official Journal of the Federation. The modified law will not limit the right to file a trademark application to “industrialists, traders or service providers” only.  As a result of these changes any natural or legal person will be able to have their trademarks registered.  The updated law stipulates and broadens the term “trademark” so that it will apply exclusively to visible aspects.  Going forward a trademark may be any mark perceptible by senses.  This means that applicants  will be able to register non-traditional marks, such as sound, smell or hologram.  It will also be possible to register the trade dress, certification marks, generic or descriptive trademarks as well as trademarks consisting of proper names, commercial names, names of physical persons, letters, digits, figurative elements, combinations of colors and three-dimensional shapes. Another important Amendment is that the letters of consent on the coexistence of trademarks, being confusingly similar, will be recognized by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).  As soon as the trademark is registered for three years, its owner will be obliged to file a declaration of the trademark’s real and continued use within three months of the said term. Otherwise, the trademark will automatically be considered as lapsed.   Source:  www.
May 8, 2018

Yemen: New Regulations for Trademark Registration Procedures

The Trademark Office in Yemen announced new regulations related to trademark registration procedures which entered into force on March 18, 2018.  The new regulations include: The registration procedures of all pending applications must be completed within 12 months from filing data; otherwise the subject applications will be cancelled. The registration procedures of all applications with conditional acceptance must be completed within 12 months from the Registrar’s decision date; otherwise the subject application will be cancelled The publication fees must be paid within 60 days as from the date of receiving the acceptance for publication; otherwise the subject application will be cancelled. Source:
May 8, 2018

Bahrain: E-Filing of Patents

The Patent Office in Bahrain announced that it will begin receiving and processing patent applications in electronic form.  The e-portal allows for the submission of application forms electronically along with soft copies of the required documents such as the power of attorney, assignment from inventors, and Arabic translation. Other jurisdictions in the Arabian Gulf that previously implemented electronic filing for patent applications are Saudi Arabia, the regional office of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the United Arab Emirates, and most recently Qatar.   Source:  SABAIP
May 4, 2018

United Kingdom: Increase in Official Fees for Patent Renewals Years 12-20

Effective April 6, 2018, renewal fees in the UK for maintaining a granted patent in force will see an increase of £10 from current fees for each year beginning with the 12th year to the 20th year.  These increases are relatively modest and should only have a small impact on proprietors. Source:  BeckGreener
May 4, 2018

ARIPO: New Trademarks Act by Malawi Adopted

The new Malawi Act (Trademarks Act, 2018) repeals the existing Trademarks Act of 1957.  It was published on February 2, 2018.  The new act covers a number of fields which were not, or poorly covered. previously.  Those fields include the protection of service marks, registration of collective marks, certification marks and Geographical Indications. Source:
May 1, 2018

Bhutan: National Intellectual Property Policy 2018 Launched

The Ministry of Economic Affairs officially launched the National Intellectual Property Policy (NIPP) 2018 to provide intellectual property (IP) rights to promote creativity and innovation for social, cultural and economic development.  The policy was approved during the 151st session of the Cabinet held on February 13, 2018. Source:    
May 1, 2018

Benelux: Trademark Regime to Change in June 2018

The Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP) will be amended by two protocols which will enter into force on June 1, 2018. Effective June 1, 2018, all appeals from decisions of the BOIP (refusals, oppositions, etc.) have to be brought before the Benelux Court of Justice (BCJ).  This Court established a new chamber consisting of judges from national courts of the Member States of the Benelux.  It is expected that this change will result in a more consistent and harmonious case law. With regard to opposition proceedings, the BCIP will also allow holders of well-known trademarks to oppose to the registration of younger marks. Currently, opposition can only be based on an identical trademark, a confusingly similar trademark or a well-known mark. Invalidation or cancellation actions before the BOIP:  Effective June 1, 2018, it will be possible to seek invalidation or cancellation of registered marks with the BOIP in administrative procedures.  It will no longer be required to initiate judicial proceedings. Source:  DeClercq & Partners, Belgium and Arnold & Siedsma, Netherlands
May 1, 2018

Afghanistan: Accession to Madrid Protocol on June 26, 2018

On March 26, 2018, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan deposited its instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol, making Afghanistan the 101st member of the Madrid System.  The Protocol will enter into force for Afghanistan on June 26, 2018. Beginning on June 26th, local brand owners in Afghanistan can begin using the Madrid System to protect their marks in the 116 territories of the System’s other 100 members by filing a single international application and paying a single set of fees.   Source:
April 27, 2018

United Kingdom: Ratified the Unified Patent Court (UPC) on April 26, 2018

The minister of IP, Sam Gyimah, confirmed the ratification of the UPC Agreement on 4/26/2018.  The UPC will have jurisdiction over patent disputes across its contracting states, delivering a single judgment in cross-border disputes. However, Germany, which has to ratify the UPC for it to come into effect, may still prove a stumbling block to its implementation. The UK and France are the other two states that must ratify the UPC.  Both have now ratified. Source:  WIPR